Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, and More Decry Removal of Lillian Gish’s Name From Theater

The college censorship debate has reached Hollywood. More than 50 prominent artists, writers, and film scholars are supporting the restoration of the names of the Gish sisters, Dorothy and Lillian, to a film theater at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

The letter accuses the university of making “a scapegoat in a broader political debate.” Among those signing their names are James Earl Jones, Helen Mirren, Martin Scorsese, George Stevens Jr., Bertrand Tavernier, Malcolm McDowell, Lauren Hutton, Joe Dante, and Taylor Hackford. The letter is a response to Bowling Green’s May 3 decision to change the name of the Gish Theater because of Lillian Gish’s acting role in D. W. Griffith’s incendiary 1915 silent film “The Birth of a Nation.”

The Birth of a Nation” has been called one of the most racist films ever made, and it’s credited with leading to the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in America.
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