Although he is one of the country’s most iconic film stars, longtime California resident John Wayne will not be getting a day of honor in his home state.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said that Wayne’s movies included “a lot of slaughtering of Native Americans,” reports TelesurTV, and the Associated Press reports that Assemblyman Luis Alejo said that Wayne “had disturbing views toward race.”
Most of the opposition to the film star comes in response to words heard from the actor’s own mouth. In a 1971 interview with Playboy, Wayne let ’er rip, starting off by saying that he believes in white supremacy:
I believe in white supremacy, until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people. … I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from [the Native Americans]. … Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.
“Today is the day that political correctness prevailed over a profoundly American figure,” said Harper in a statement on his website after his resolution failed. He said that opposing a day to commemorate John Wayne “is like opposing apple pie, fireworks, baseball, the Free Enterprise system and the Fourth of July!”
Assemblyman Mike Gipson, a black Democrat, said that he appreciated Wayne’s contributions to film but found his views offensive.
“Certainly his movies are one thing, but in terms of his private life, and also his views, I find them very offensive,” Gipson said.