John Wayne's Son Defends His Late Father after the Actor’s Controversial 1971 Interview Resurfaces
A new scandal involving late western actor John Wayne is currently making its rounds. John Wayne Airport, in Orange County, was named after the actor but the scandal is threatening to change that.
Some people wish to have the airport renamed after a controversial 1971 “Playboy” surfaced again. His son has come out to defend his late father.
Ethan Wayne has said the “Playboy” interview his father, John Wayne made, has been taken out of context. He’s encouraged people to rather look at the Oscar-winning actor’s whole life instead of just the interview.
Some of the unforgivable comments that the actor made when he was 47 were:
"I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. We can't all of the sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks."
John also spoke about what he described as the "perversion" of Hollywood. He referred to new films about homosexual people namely, “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy.”
The actor used a gay slur to describe the characters in the movies. Then went ahead to talk about the benefits of having sexual intercourse with women.
The interviewer also asked the western movie star about Native Americans, who were often acted out as stereotypes or cast as villains in his movies. In response, the legendary actor said: "I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that's what you're asking."
He added, "Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival." In his reasoning, John claimed that Europeans had needed the new land and Native Americans were "selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."
Ethan defended his father’s legacy but admitted he was wrong for what he said. The star’s son said: "It would be an injustice to judge someone based on an interview that's being used out of context."
He added, "They're trying to contradict how he lived his life, and how he lived his life was who he was." Ethan alleged that his father had only cared how well people did their work and didn't judge based on race, gender or sexual orientation.
The actor’s son said he “took everyone at face value." Ethan also turned the blame to the interviewer saying his father had only mimicked the language he was exposed to.
John had a 50-year career that won him an Oscar for “True Grit.” His other accolades were a Congressional Gold Medal and a Medal of Freedom.
On June 11, 1979, the actor passed away after battling stomach cancer. The scandal began afresh after Michael Hiltzik, a writer for the “LA Times,” wrote an op-ed about the interview.
In the article, he questioned if the late actor deserved having an airport named after him. Hiltzik, wrote, "It certainly undermines any justification for his name and image to adorn a civic facility."
People on social media have been divided over the scandal.
In a statement, the Wayne family said:
“We hope America remembers John Wayne as we do: a devoted family man, great friend and cherished actor on the big screen, as well as for his continuing work to find a cure for cancer through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and the John Wayne Cancer Institute.”