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John Wayne's Son Defends Dad Over Shocking Interview

Wayne managed to denigrate millions of people in one conversation
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2019 2:15 PM CST
In this photo released by Warner Bros., actor John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards in the 1956 film "The Searchers."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros.)

(Newser) – John Wayne's son is crying foul over a call to have his father's name removed from a California airport, CNN reports. Ethan Wayne appeared on Smerconish Saturday after an old Playboy interview re-emerged with the iconic actor—who put down blacks, gays, and Native Americans in the same conversation. "It would be an injustice to judge someone based on an interview that's being used out of context," says Ethan Wayne. "They're trying to contradict how he lived his life, and how he lived his life was who he was." This after LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote a piece calling for John Wayne Airport in Orange Country to be renamed. "The views that he expressed in 1971, I think, were extremist even for 1971," says Hiltzik. "That was not a prehistoric period."

Among Wayne's remarks: "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility"; Midnight Cowboy was "a story about two fags"; Native Americans "were selfishly trying to keep (the US) for themselves"; and "We'll all be on a reservation soon if the socialists keep subsidizing groups like [Native Americans] with our tax money." Die-hard Republican at the time, Orange County has become so "economically and ethnically diverse" that "it's hard to justify asking any member of that community to board planes at an airport named after an outspoken racist and homophobe," writes Hiltzik in the LA Times. But Ethan sees his father differently: "He didn't care what race, gender, sexual orientation you were," he says. "He cared how well you did your job." (Read more prejudice stories.)

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