AceShowbiz - John Wayne's son is appalled by demands to remove the movie icon's name from an Orange County, California airport over his alleged ties to racism.
Local politicians have called for a rebranding of the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana over comments the late actor made about the black, Native American and LGBTQ+ communities in a 1971 interview with Playboy magazine.
During the chat the "True Grit" star reportedly said, "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 also said he felt no remorse in the subjugation of Native Americans, sharing, "I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them... Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival." Wayne also used a homophobic slur.
But Wayne's son, Ethan Wayne, insists his father was not a racist, stating, "I know that term is casually tossed around these days, but I take it very seriously. I also understand how we got to this point."
"There is no question that the words spoken by John Wayne in an interview 50 years ago have caused pain and anger. They pained him as well, as he realised his true feelings were wrongly conveyed... He did not support white supremacy in any way and believed that responsible people should gain power without the use of violence."
And recalling the death of George Floyd last month (May), which sparked the recent Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality, Wayne's son adds, "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."