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Jack Black has been seen in countless hipster T-shirts over the years — in High Fidelity, he even sported a Yanni tee — but this is the first time he’s ever landed in hot water over one.
On Feb. 18, the 50-year-old actor posted a photo of himself on Instagram wearing a Mount Rushmore shirt with presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s face inserted next to George Washington’s. The photo, which he tagged #WarrenTime, didn’t stay up long — a matter of hours — after multiple followers pointed out that Mount Rushmore has a complicated history with Native Americans (the 1941 monument, carved into sacred ground, is considered a desecration by some). In fact, not only did the shirt vanish from Black’s feed, the company that created it, Built by Wendy, also removed it from its online store.
Black confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that he removed the post after a request from the shirt designer due to the negative responses regarding the sculpture. “I respected their wishes,” he says, adding that he still is Team Warren. “I think Elizabeth Warren would be a great president. She’s the smartest candidate in the race. She speaks with the most clarity regarding the big structural change needed to make government work for everyone. I endorse her campaign and hope to be celebrating her victory in November!”
Back to the shirts. Built by Wendy is not the only source for Mount Rushmore apparel featuring Warren’s face, however. THR contacted sellers TeePeepz and Cheerfa — both online retailers sell the Warren/Rushmore shirts — requesting comment on the popularity and consumer feedback, but did not hear back as of press time. There’s also no shortage of shirts on the market that re-envision Rushmore with faces other than those currently etched in stone: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
On Etsy, one can find Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib’s faces on the mountain, while another from Des Moines’ custom fashion behemoth Raygun is titled “Mt. Nasty” and features Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elizabeth Warren and former first lady Michelle Obama. There are others featuring rap legends and Chicago Bulls superstars, to name a few.
A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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