California Democrats pass resolution calling for name of John Wayne Airport to be changed

California Democrats in Orange County are demanding that the county’s John Wayne Airport be renamed and that all of Wayne’s likeness be removed from the airport, for “racist and intolerant statements” made by the American icon decades ago.

“The Orange County Democratic Party condemns John Wayne’s racist and bigoted statements, and calls for the name and image of John Waynes to be removed from the Orange County airport, and calls on the OC Board of Supervisors to restore their original name: Orange County Airport, “says the resolution, passed Friday.

The resolution, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, urges the Orange County Board of Supervisors to reverse the 1979 decision to rename Duke, and quotes comments he made in a 1971 interview with Playboy.

“I believe in white supremacy until blacks are brought up to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people, ”he said in that interview almost 50 years ago.

Unspecified - 1970: John Wayne, behind the scenes of the creation of 'Rio Lobo', for the ABC special 'Plimpton!  Shooting in Río Lobo '.

Unspecified – 1970: John Wayne, behind the scenes of the creation of ‘Rio Lobo’, for the ABC special ‘Plimpton! Shooting in Río Lobo ‘.

“I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or ten generations ago these people were slaves,” he said at another point in the interview.


There have been a series of attempts to rename the airport as a result of those comments after they reappeared. Wayne’s advocates have said it is unfair to judge him based on comments made nearly 50 years ago, and when he is no longer alive to defend them or even recant.

The latest push comes amid a nationwide movement to tear down monuments and rename buildings and institutions named after people believed to have had racist views or committed racist acts.

The Democratic resolution hails a “national movement to remove the symbols and names of white supremacy that are reshaping US institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues, and teams, as it is widely recognized that racist symbols produce enduring physical and psychological stress and trauma, especially for black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups, and the removal of racist symbols provides a necessary process for communities to remember historical acts of violence and recognize victims of oppression ” .


According to the LA Times, Wayne lived a good part of his life in Newport Beach, Orange County, was an agent of political power in the county, and was buried in the city after his death in 1979.

Louis Casiano of Fox News contributed to this report.