The American Museum of Natural History announced that it’s moving its famed statue of Teddy Roosevelt inside the museum and one Hollywood actor thinks he has the perfect replacement, and it will still be Teddy Roosevelt (sort of).
“The bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, which has presided over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1940, is coming down,” museum president Ellen Futter told The New York Times.
“Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd,” Futter said. “We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism.”
“Simply put,” said Futter, “the time has come to move it.”
I love Teddy Roosevelt. The statue in front of the Museum of Natural History is pretty racist. pic.twitter.com/iJHGcHcIRn
— Sean O’Brien (@revbon22) June 21, 2020
The eternally aggrieved Times said the statue has “come to symbolize a painful legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination.”
Enter actor Ben Stiller. He starred in all three of the “Night At The Museum” movies along with co-star Robin Williams, who portrayed Roosevelt in the films.
Stiller thinks maybe it’d be a good idea if the statue honoring the 26th president should be replaced with one of Williams, who committed suicide by hanging himself in 2014 after struggling with Lewy body dementia.
The 54-year-old actor wrote on Twitter: “How about replacing it with a statue of Robin Williams. He deserves one.”
How about replacing it with a statue of Robin Williams. He deserves one.
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) June 21, 2020
Response was swift on social media.
“Better remove ‘A Night At The Museum’ from streaming now too, then. My goodness me. We are in big trouble,” wrote one person on Twitter.
Better remove “A Night At The Museum” from streaming now too, then. My goodness me. We are in big trouble. https://t.co/u3XI4yKT2G
— Matthew Marsden (@matthewdmarsden) June 21, 2020
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) June 21, 2020
Pls digitally remove Robin Williams from the Night at the Museum franchise next. Kids shouldn’t think TR is a jovial character. Thx.
— Michael C Moynihan (@mcmoynihan) June 21, 2020
Stiller was the main actor in the 2006 fantasy-comedy film directed by Shawn Levy called “Night at the Museum,” playing the night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History, where animals and people in exhibits come to life at night. Two sequels followed, “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” in 2009, and “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ in 2014.” In the movies, Williams — as Roosevelt — helps Stiller’s character understand the secret behind the exhibits and offers sage advice for his life.
Futter noted that the museum is removing the statue for its “hierarchical composition” and not because of Roosevelt himself, whom the museum notes was “a pioneering conservationist.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed with the museum, calling it “the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The City supports the Museum’s request.”
Theodore Roosevelt IV, a great-grandson of the former president and museum trustee, told The New York Times he’s OK with the statue’s removal.
“The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy,” he said in a statement to the newspaper. “It is time to move the statue and move forward.”
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