(Tea Party 247) – The son of legendary Western actor John Wayne is speaking out in defense of his father as leftists are calling for the Orange County airport named in his honor based on “racist” comments he 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,” he said.
Wayne, at the time, was quoted as 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 said that he did not “feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves,” according to Daily Mail.
Ethan, Wayne’s youngest son, said that his father was not, in fact, a supporter of “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 said he believes it an injustice for his father to be judged according to one single article rather than “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 also noted that his father 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.
John Wayne died in 1979 at the age of 72 from cancer.