|Above, Ethan and John Wayne in Big Jake.|
John Wayne's youngest son, Ethan, responded to the Orange County Democrats who want to remove Wayne's name from John Wayne Airport.
Fox News reported:
John Wayne’s son is speaking out after California Democrats in Orange County recently demanded that the county’s John Wayne Airport be renamed and all likenesses of Wayne be removed from the airport, over “racist and bigoted statements” made by the American icon decades ago.
The resolution, which passed on Friday, is asking the county's board of supervisors to restore the name to Orange County Airport.
In a statement to Fox News on Monday, Ethan Wayne said: "Let me make one thing clear -- John Wayne was not a racist. 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," Ethan continued, referencing the late actor’s 1971 interview with Playboy. "They pained him as well, as he realized his true feelings were wrongly conveyed."
In the interview at the time, Wayne is quoted 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 also said he felt no remorse for the subjugation of Native Americans and called movies such as “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy” perverted.
Ethan, who is Wayne's youngest son and president of John Wayne Enterprises, went on to say in his statement on Monday: "The truth is, as we have seen in papers from his archives, he did not support 'white supremacy' in any way and believed that responsible people should gain power without the use of violence.
"Since his death more than 40 years ago, his legacy continues through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, which has helped provide courage, strength and grit to the fight against cancer, and through his extensive film library. 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 his statement.
The push to oust Wayne, who was a longtime county resident, from the airport's name has a lengthy history. The airport, which is in the heart of Orange County, dates back decades and county officials voted to change the name to remember Wayne when he died
Deanne Thompson, an airport spokeswoman, has previously said the county has no plans to change the name or remove a statue of Wayne from the airport, though the issue comes up periodically, including last year.To read the full article, go here.