Rename John Wayne Airport: Spotlight on White Supremacist Comments in 1971 Playboy Interview

Local Democrats demand that the airport be given its original name - Orange County Airport.

Democrats in Orange County, California, have issued a resolution demanding the renaming of the John Wayne Airport over the late actor's allegedly racist, anti-Native and homophobic comments in a 1971 Playboy interview. In the now-infamous interview, Wayne, nicknamed as 'The Duke', openly professed his support for white supremacy and said he wasn't guilty over blacks being slaves five or ten generations ago.

The Orange County Democrats have condemned Wayne's racist and bigoted statements and have called for his name to be removed from the airport. In a statement issued on Friday, they called on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to restore its original name, i.e., the Orange County Airport.

John Wayne
John Wayne Pixabay

In the 1971 interview, he had said that getting down on the knees all of sudden and turning everything over to the leadership of the blacks was not possible. He said that he believed in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility and that he didn't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.

Asked if he was equipped to judge which blacks are inexperienced and irresponsible, Wayne answered that some of the blacks entered college without passing the test or having the requisite background. He further opined that any black who can compete with a white gets a better break than a white.

On Black Actors in Hollywood

On casting black actors, he said he used a black actor for a black character, but he did not go as far as hunting for positions for them. According to him, Hollywood studios had taken their tokenism too far and that there should be the same percentage of the colored race in films as in society.

Pivoting towards the Native Americans, Wayne held the opinion that the whites didn't do anything wrong in taking away their country from them. The so-called steeling was just a matter of survival. According to him, there were several people who needed land, but Indians were selfishly keeping it for themselves. Asked if the Indians were the rightful owners of the land, he said the whites can't be blamed for what happened 100 years ago.

Reflecting his homophobic opinion, when asked an example of movies he found perverted, he said Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight's characters in 'Midnight Cowboy', which had won three Oscars.

The John Wayne Airport was opened in 1923 and was named after him in 1979. His 9-foot statue was erected and placed in the lobby in 1982, CNN noted.