Tags: john wayne | ethan wayne | orange county democratic party

John Wayne's Son Says Legend Was Not a White Supremacist

actor john wayne is seen in a wax figure
A wax figure of actor John Wayne is seen at "The celebrity Awards Hall" exhibition at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood, California. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 June 2020 12:41 PM

John Wayne’s son is speaking out about the late actor amid calls to rename the John Wayne airport over ''racist" statements made decades ago.

Leaders of Orange County’s Democratic Party are pushing to drop the film legend's name, statue and other likenesses from the county’s airport but Ethan Wayne has defended his father, insisting that he was not the "white supremacist" he came across as in a 1971 interview with Playboy.

"There is no question that the words spoken by John Wayne in an interview 50 years ago have caused pain and anger," Ethan said in a statement to Fox News on Monday. "They pained him as well, as he realized his true feelings were wrongly conveyed."

At the time, Wayne was quoted saying, "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people." He further stated that he did not "feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves," according to Daily Mail.

Ethan, who is Wayne's youngest son, said his father did not support "white supremacy" in any way.

"Those who knew him, knew he judged everyone as an individual and believed everyone deserved an equal opportunity," Ethan said. "He called out bigotry when he saw it. He hired and worked with people of all races, creeds, and sexual orientations. John Wayne stood for the very best for all of us -- a society that doesn’t discriminate against anyone seeking the American dream."

Ethan noted that it was an injustice for his father to be judged according to a single article and not according to "the full picture" of who he was.

"The current focus on social justice is absolutely valid and necessary. But attempts by some to use it for political advantage distract from real opportunities for reform," the 58-year-old said.

"One thing we know – if John Wayne were here today, he would be in the forefront demanding fairness and justice for all people," he continued. "He would have pulled those officers off of George Floyd, because that was the right thing to do. He would stand for everyone’s right to protest and work toward change."

Ethan added that his father, who passed away at age 72 from cancer in 1979, helped "provide courage, strength and grit" through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

"My father believed that we can learn from yesterday, but not by erasing the past. His name, no matter where it is, will always embody these values, and our family knows the positive impact that he made on the world will never be diminished," Ethan concluded.

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John Wayne’s son is speaking out about the late actor amid calls to rename the John Wayne airport over ''racist" statements made decades ago.
john wayne, ethan wayne, orange county democratic party
Tuesday, 30 June 2020 12:41 PM
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