John Wayne’s son has defended a 1971 interview in which the actor made homophobic and racist comments.
Ethan Wayne defended his father last weekend (2 March) amid calls to strip the actor’s name from a Californian airport.
He told CNN: ‘It would be an injustice to judge someone based on an interview that’s being used out of context.’
‘They’re trying to contradict how he lived his life, and how he lived his life was who he was.’
John Wayne made the comments to Playboy in 1971.
What did John Wayne say exactly?
On race, the True Grit actor said he believed in ‘white supremacy’ and said he doesn’t ‘feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago [people of color] were slaves.’
When asked by the magazine which movies he considered ‘perverted’, Wayne replied: ‘Oh, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy – that kind of thing.
‘Wouldn’t you say that the wonderful love of those two men in Midnight Cowboy, a story about two f*gs, qualifies?’
He added: ‘But don’t get me wrong. As far as a man and a woman is concerned, I’m awfully happy there’s a thing called sex.’
John Wayne used ‘a terrible word’
While the interview is over 50 years old, it resurfaced on Twitter which went viral last month.
Many slammed the movie star for the disparaging remarks he made.
However, the actor’s son, Ethan Wayne, acknowledged his father ‘used a terrible word, no doubt about it.
‘But he used it not in the context of an individual’s sexuality.
‘He used it in the context of the changing landscape of the motion picture business, something that distressed him.’
Ethan Wayne said his father ‘didn’t care what race, gender, sexual orientation you were.’
John Wayne Airport?
Outrage across social media ignited a debate over an airport in Orange County, California, which was named after John Wayne.
Some commented the airport should be re-named in light of his comments.
In response, Ethan Wayne said: ‘Any discussion of removing his name from the airport should include the full picture of the life of John Wayne and not be based on a single outlier interview from half a century ago.’
He called the airport ‘recognition of a lifetime of significant contributions to this country, his community and to his industry.’
Wayne starred in a string of iconic films such as True Grit and Hondo. He won the Best Actor Oscar for the former.
Wayne died of stomach cancer in 1979.