The Orange County, California Democratic Party is pushing to remove John Wayne’s name and statue from the county airport due to racist and bigoted comments made by the film’s legend.
The Orange County Democratic Party passed a resolution last week condemning Wayne’s “white supremacist, anti-LGBT and anti-indigenous views” made in a 1971 interview.
The resolution requests the county Board of Supervisors to restore the original name of the international airport: Orange County Airport.
“Orange County is now a diverse region very different from when John Wayne was chosen as a namesake for the airport,” the resolution notes. He cites a recent annual survey that says 79 percent of respondents see the county’s growing ethnic diversity as “a source of great strength.”
The effort is part of “a national movement to remove the symbols and names of white supremacy” that is “reshaping US institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues, and teams, as it is widely recognized that Racist symbols produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma, particularly in black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups, and the removal of racist symbols provides a necessary process for communities to remember historical acts of violence and recognize victims of oppression, “says the resolution.
Wayne, a long-time Orange County resident, died in 1979 at age 72.
In April 2016, a resolution to honor Wayne in California was rejected in the California Assembly after critics expressed concern over intolerant statements made against blacks, Native Americans, and members of the LGBTQ community. A Republican assemblyman had attempted to declare May 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to commemorate the day the actor was born.
In a 1971 interview, Wayne told Playboy magazine that “suddenly we can’t kneel down and turn everything over to black leadership. I believe in white supremacy until blacks are brought up to a point of responsibility” I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment of irresponsible people. “
He also said that although he did not tolerate slavery, “I do not feel guilty about the fact that five or ten generations ago these people were slaves.”
Wayne also called films like “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy” perverted and used a gay insult to refer to the two main characters in the latest film.
When asked if he empathized with the American Indians, Wayne said, “I don’t think we did it wrong to take this great country from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our alleged robbery of this country was just a matter of survival.”
He added: “There were a large number of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it.”