Reese Witherspoon is joining those who are calling for the removal of a number of statues around the country, tweeting on Wednesday for Tennessee governor Bill Lee to remove a bust of KKK Founder Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol. Witherspoon shared her tweet in response to a Forbes article reporting on Tennessee Republican lawmakers who resisted an overwhelming wave of public opinion to remove the statue.
"Is this even a conversation? @GovBillLee?" wrote Witherspoon, who grew up in Nashville. "A statue that honors a KKK founder ? We need to get rid of this disgusting symbol of racism. And every other marker of White supremacy in the state. The Great state of TN deserves better." Country singer Kelsea Ballerini replied to Witherspoon's tweet, writing, "I 100% agree." Along with asking to remove the statue, protesters and Democratic lawmakers also called for the removal of a holiday that honors Bedford Forrest. On Wednesday, protesters gathered in front of Tennessee's State Capitol in Nashville to lobby for the bust's removal, one day after the Naming, Designating & Private Acts committee rejected a resolution that was introduced in January and was written to remove the statue. Every Democrat on the committee voted to remove it and all but one Republican voted for it to remain.
Also, Republican lawmakers voted Wednesday to preserve Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. On Wednesday, Lee said that "something should be done here" in regards to the statue of Bedford Forrest and that that there is "a need for greater dialogue" but did not specifically call to remove it. On Tuesday, State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, a Democrat, shared his thoughts about the statue on Twitter, writing that "Seeing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest in the halls of the two most powerful chambers in the land reminds me every time I walk past it reminds me of the fact that this is one of the most vile, sadistic men to ever be born on American soil." He also compared the bust to "a bust of Hitler."
Witherspoon has been vocal about her support of a number of anti-racist actions including NASCAR's recent decision to ban Confederate flags at its races. On Wednesday, the Oscar winner retweeted an article about the decision, simply adding a hands-up emoji to share her feelings. She has also expressed her support for the Black Lives Matter movement and recently shared a number of organizations she is donating to including the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Color of Change and Campaign Zero.