Kindergarten Cop pulled from Portland drive-in amid over-policing complaints

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

When I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1990 comedy classic KINDERGARTEN COP, I don't think of a film that sparks controversy. But alas, it's 2020 and this year has certainly made its own rules and now this lovely comedy from my childhood is at the center of its own little controversy.

The Northwest Film Center's Drive-in series in Portland has decided to yank KINDERGARTEN COP from its release schedule due to a series of complaints about "over-policing" tactics used in the film. Despite being picked for the drive-in series due to "its importance in Oregon filmmaking", Portland Author Lois Leveen lead the charge against the idea of screening the comedy in the area.

According to Leveen, the movie "romanticizes over-policing in the U.S." and she called for the film to be pulled from the drive-in series immediately:

"There's nothing entertaining about the presence of police in schools, which feeds the 'school-to-prison' pipeline in which African American, Latinx, and other kids of color are criminalized rather than educated. Criminalizing of children increases dramatically when cops work in schools. Yes, Kindergarten Cop is only a movie. So are Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, but we recognize films like those are not 'good family fun.' They are relics of how pop culture feeds the racist assumptions. Kindergarten Cop romanticizes over-policing in the U.S."

Leveen's comments were taken very seriously by the Northwest Film Center's Summer Drive-in series and they agreed to pull the film. In its place, they will show a second screening of JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, in honor of the late congressman, after the first screening which is scheduled for August 7. The decision to pull KINDERGARTEN COP has been very divisive on social media with many citing it as "cancel culture" and others believing it's absolutely ridiculous to compare KINDERGARTEN COP to BIRTH OF A NATION or GONE WITH THE WIND. I know times are stressful and people are extra sensitive considering the truly upside-down year we have been having but I'm going to say it's quite a reach to say that KINDERGARTEN COP romanticizes and promotes over-policing in the U.S. It's a lighthearted family comedy that has been viewed as such since 1990 but the narrative is being changed in 2020. At this point, I'm starting to wonder if any art is safe. 

In KINDERGARTEN COP, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as an undercover police officer posing as a kindergarten teacher to catch a dangerous criminal. While he starts out as pretty hardened, he eventually strikes up a good relationship with the kids and becomes a pretty natural teacher, even picking up a love interest in the process. His cover is blown as he finds his intended target, but he ends up leaving police work behind to become a fulltime kindergarten teacher. Does that really sound like a film that should be pulled from a drive-in series? I think not…

Do YOU think KINDERGARTEN COP should've been pulled from the event?

Source: Washington Post

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