IMDB Editor Will Not Allow Discussing the Author of Outlaw Josey Wales Was a KKK Terrorist

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The following review of OJW by a historian, and an earlier version, were declined by IMDB. However, a similar review pointing out identical facts was allowed of the Klansman's other film made from his books, Education of Little Tree. This suggests a Confederate sympathizer for an editor.

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Anyone looking for a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, look elsewhere. I'm also aware that most of those who love this film will go into denial. They'll likely downvote my review without reading it, as will racists. This review is for the thoughtful, open minded, and those interested in accurate history.

Outlaw Josey Wales, the book on which the film is based, was written by Asa Carter AKA Forrest Carter. Carter was not only a KKK member, he was a chapter founder and leader. He was also clearly a violent psychotic. He bombed several Black churches. There's clear evidence he beat a civil rights demonstrator to death with a club. Finally, he led an attack on famed singer Nat King Cole when Cole tried to tour the south.

But his greatest fame came from his writing. He wrote George Wallace's notorious "Segregation Now and Forever" speech, given when Wallace tried to block Black students from enrolling in the University of Alabama. Carter broke with Wallace a few years later, feeling that Wallace, while still white supremacist, was now "too moderate" because he wanted to avoid violence.

Carter invented a new identity. He wrote not only Outlaw Josey Wales but Education of Little Tree. He falsely claimed to be Cherokee, wore tanning makeup, and would go into mock "Indian war chants" in public. None if it worked. 

Carter was exposed as a KKK terrorist the same year Josey Wales became a film. Natives and academics denounced Education of Little Tree and Carter as phony the same year it was published. That didn't matter to Hollywood. Disney made Little Tree into a film. Neither Disney not Eastwood ever apologized for enriching a Klansman and making him into a household name until his death.

The more naive would like to believe that Carter changed his ways or beliefs. No, both books and both films are deeply racist. As Native author Sherman Alexie argued, "Ultimately I think it is the racial hypocrisy of a white supremacist." In Josey Wales, Carter seriously claims Native women have sex with horses. In Little Tree, Carter claims that making moonshine is part of Cherokee tradition.

What Carter tried to do in both books was make public admiration and sympathy for American Indians serve the white supremacist, and especially the white southerner and KKK, causes. Josey Wales is a fantasy of a Confederate guerilla as being just like the best Native warriors. In Little Tree, Carter tries to claim white Southerners were heartbroken to see their Cherokee neighbors removed by the Trail of Tears. This is as false as can be. White Southerners were the ones pushing for forced removal. They elected Andrew Jackson to force Natives out of their homelands, and he did so by ethnic cleansing that killed over 20,000. 

Again, both Carter books and films were deeply racist, and openly so. Josey Wales the film kept the "Indian women sex with horses" smear. The film is derogatory in spite of Native actor Dan George's efforts to make the film less insulting. Though Carter wrote a number of racist harangues against Natives as "savages" that made it into the film, Dan George undercuts them whenever possible. He delivers such lines with wry humor, sarcasm, or turns them back against white viewers. The one sickening exception is an old white woman's racist rants where she then hypocritically tells George, "No offense meant..." and George has to reply, "None taken."

George's character is named Lone Watie, an obvious take on the real life Stand Watie, a traitor to the Cherokee Nation who signed away their homeland for his own profit, barely escaped execution for his treason, and then spent the Civil War carrying out terrorism on his own people, killing several thousand. But in Josey Wales, "Lone Watie" is remade into a wry elderly curmudgeon.

Both Carter and Eastwood attached a "savage" Indian to Josey Wales to make Wales, a pro slavery terrorist, seem less motivated by bigotry. Confederate apologists have long done this, fabricating myths about "Cherokee cavaliers." There were some pro Confederate Cherokees, slave owners who were hated both Blacks and their own Native ancestry and heritage, white wannabes. 

Other Natives made a temporary alliance with the Confederacy for strategy reasons. They switched sides back to the US in the middle of the Battle of Pea Ridge, throwing off their CSA uniforms. The Confederacy had a policy of terrorism against Natives such as the Lumbee. One CSA leader, Colonel John Baylor, ordered genocide by mass poisoning against Apaches.

What of the rest of its portrayal of the Civil War? Since the story was written by a Klansman, one should expect it to whitewash the Confederacy and demonize Americans (you know, the Union). And it certainly does, with one falsehood after another.

The film has Wales as a peaceful farmer who only turns terrorist (what are inaccurately called raiders or guerillas) after his farm is burned and family killed. In fact, Confederates were the aggressors. They began the Civil War by attacking Fort Sumter. They also attacked hundreds of federal forts and installations long before Fort Sumter, seizing property and weapons by the ton.

They also carried out systematic terrorism in order to secede by force, since most Southerners were pro Union. This included both Black and white Southerners. The four border states were overwhelmingly loyal Americans and did not secede. Large parts of the Southern states were pro Union: north Alabama; north Arkansas; central Florida; southeast and north Georgia: north and southeast Louisiana; southwest Mississippi; western North Carolina; east Tennessee; central, northeast, and south Texas, and what became West Virginia. Over 300,000 Southerners fought for the Union. Over half of white Southern men dodged the draft, and two thirds deserted the CSA Army.

What about the film's depiction of Confederate raiders? Again, they were terrorists out for profit. The Confederate government and military barely recognized them at best, often repudiating them and regarding them as criminals posing as fighting for a cause. The record of them as outright terrorists is clear. They mass murdered civilians in Lawrence, Kansas, POWs in Centralia, Illinois, and elsewhere.

The film shows such terrorists as being lured into surrendering and then murdered. Actual surrendering Confederate troops were treated with remarkable leniency. They were allowed to keep their weapons to hunt, their horses and mules to ride home, and given Union rations, clothing, and medical care. 

Actual raiders/terrorists were often called bushwackers, reflecting their favorite method, killing by surprise, and mostly targeting civilians, including women and children. Few of them surrendered. Instead the most notorious of these terrorists, Quantrill's Raiders, lost all Confederate support after the massacre in Lawrence, Kansas. Quantrill was killed in one of his attacks. His terrorists fought among themselves, split into smaller groups, becoming even more brutal. 

At war's end, most continued robbery, murder, and mayhem for profit. The best known of these terrorists was Jesse James, who murdered a US Army captain and a mayor after the war, as well as robbing numerous times before his gang was wiped out in the Northfield, Minnesota bank robbery. A pro Confederate newspaper editor invented the Robin Hood myth attached to James's name, but there's no evidence he gave money from his robberies to anyone but himself.

The remainder of the film shows Wales heading west. This again is the reverse of actual history. Most of the Southerners who went west after the Civil War were Blacks, former slaves trying to escape the mass terrorism of white Southern racists, especially by the KKK, the ideological ancestors of Josey Wales's author, Klan terrorist Asa Carter. Carter knew this, and by showing a CSA terrorist as hiding out in the West, he's arguing for White Victimhood, that white racists were the actual ones being persecuted. 

Is the film still any good at all? Leaving aside the massive deliberate historical inaccuracies and racist propagandizing, it's fairly dull for an action film, and the worst of Eastwood's westerns. Only Dan George's humor brings any redemption to the film at all.

Absolutely no one should take the film as a true or accurate view of Natives, the Civil War, and especially not Confederate terrorists AKA raiders. There are far more accurate and frankly better films all around on the Civil War and Confederacy. 

Please see them instead: Andersonville (Civil War POWs), Free State of Jones (southern Unionists), Friendly Persuasion (pacifists in Civil War), Glory (54th Colored), Jane Pittman (110-year-old ex-slave), Oldest Living Confederate Widow, Pharoah's Army (Civil War border states) Private History of a Campaign That Failed (Mark Twain on Confederate soldiers), Red Badge of Courage (1951), Secret Missions of the Civil War (Confederate terrorism), Union Bound (Civil War POWs), Woman Called Moses (Harriet Tubman)

Thanks for reading this far. Dr. Alton Carroll US, American Indian, and Latin American History Northern Virginia Community College
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Al Carroll

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Posted 11 months ago

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Al Carroll

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And guess what? Within hours of complaining that IMDB would not allow a review pointing out that the author of Outlaw Josey Wales was a KKK terrorist, but did allow a review pointing this out about his other movie made into a film, Education of Little Tree...

IMDB pulled my review of Education of Little Tree. No explanation why, after being allowed since April 15, it gets pulled 2 and a half months later. Seemingly it was either petty retaliation, or realizing they had to protect the reputation of Klansman better.

I think this would make for a good article at either an indie press, or academic website.
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Jeorj Euler

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Interesting conjecture.
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Vincent Fournols

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My only advice: just beware not to jump to hasty conclusions, especially if it it feeds a victimization feeling. We've seen the movie too many times...

Maybe you can just wait for an authorized reaction here from an IMDb staff.
(Edited)
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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Please see IMDb's user review guidelines at https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/contribution-information/user-review-guidelines/GABTWSNLD...

In reference to the review of the other title, it appears the post here drew attention to it and it was reported it for removal for similar incompatibilities with the guidelines, sorry.  

While your essays provide useful historical context for these two movies, they do not conform to the guidelines as written, sorry.  Another option would be to publish them upon your own site and submit them in the "External Review" section of the two titles. Please see https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/titles/links-to-external-sites/G3FNEK9DW6TXW87J for further details. 

We hope this explains the situation. Thank you for your understanding. 
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Al Carroll

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It does not explain anything. It in fact avoids any but the most vague explanation.

I see absolutely no violation of IMDB guidelines. Most reviews of Civil War films on IMDB discuss the film's accuracy or authenticity. Civil War history buffs are many, and the accuracy of the films is important to them and much of the general public. There are literally hundreds of reviews similar to mine, including of both the films named.

It still seems most likely you have a Confederate sympathizer for an editor, one who lives in denial or wants to avoid controversy with IMDB readers who are fellow sympathizers, the many who falsely equate the Confederacy with the South.

Thanks for confirming my review of Little Tree being pulled was petty retaliation though. And I won't be surprised if similar retaliation goes after my other reviews.

Time to publish as public a critique of IMDB as possible. I hope the backlash for your defense of white supremacist terrorism hits your site hard.
(Edited)
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Jeorj Euler

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Well, it's not surprising that the data-editing staff's performance of consistently enforcing policy is short of superb. Similar problems seemed to have existed with board moderation. There were many complaints accordingly. Too many. The takeaway was that maintenance of message boards was never a core competency of the company anyway. It really is much more important that the staff focus on being skilled at managing trivial facts pertinent to works of art/science in the vein of motion photography along with the corresponding industries and related persons. Also, when it comes to the concept of "respect" of persons, many of the ways and customs of IMDb mirror that of Wikipedia or, for that matter, classic encyclopedias of note.
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Adrian, Champion

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This does not appear to be a review of a movie at all so I'm not surprised it was taken down. It has nothing to do with the actual movie.
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Jeorj Euler

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Yet it is a review of the movie.