The family of John Wayne, the iconic American actor, producer, and director, has spoken out to defend the legend’s name after plans to rename the airport named after him.
Appearing in the likes of The Quiet Man, Sands of Iwo Jima, and Rio Bravo, John Wayne rose to stardom in his 30s after making an appearance in John Ford‘s ‘Stagecoach’.
Following the actor’s death in 1979, the Orange County Airport in California has been renamed after him.
Now, however, there have been calls for the airport’s name to be restored to its previous version due to the controversial comments Wayne made back in 1971 when he admitted he believed in ‘white supremacy’ and said: “I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves.
While the actor’s son, Ethan, admitted that the comments his father once made had haunted the actor later in life, he insisted that his father didn’t believe in white supremacy and suggested it’s wrong “to judge him based on a single interview, as opposed to the full picture of who he was.
“There is no question the words spoken by John Wayne in an interview 50 years ago have caused pain and anger. They pained him as well, as he realized his true feelings were wrongly conveyed,” Ethan expressed in a statement.
“The truth is, as we have seen in papers from his archives, he did not support ‘white supremacy’ in any way and believes that responsible people should gain power without the use of violence … He called out bigotry when he saw it.”
As the actor’s son went on to say, his father would stand up for people suffering from racial injustice and “would have pulled those officers off of George Floyd” if he was still alive.
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