Orange County Democrats Condemn John Wayne’s “Racist” Comments, Call For Airport To Leave His Name

The Orange County Democratic Party hopes that sunset is on the horizon for the Duke.

This week, officials passed an emergency resolution condemning film legend John Wayne’s “racist and intolerant statements” made decades ago and are calling on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to remove his name, statue and other images from the international Airport.

The resolution also asked the board “to restore its original name: Orange County Airport.”

“Efforts have been made in the past to accomplish this and now we are putting our name and our support behind it to make sure there is a name change,” said Ada Briceño, chair of the Orange County Democratic Party.

According to the creators of the resolution, which include Briceño, the effort to expel Wayne is part of “a national movement to remove the symbols and names of white supremacy.” [that are] reshaping American institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues, and teams. “

The resolution adds: “It is widely recognized that racist symbols produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma, particularly in black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups.”

The resolution notes that the county is much more diverse than it was in 1979, when the Orange County Airport was dubbed John Wayne Airport.

Democrats point to a Chapman University poll released earlier this year that says 79% of county residents surveyed believe “OC’s increasing ethnic diversity is a source of great strength for the region.”

At the heart of the latest album is a widely discussed 1971 Playboy interview in which Wayne makes bigoted statements against blacks, Native Americans, and the LGBTQ community.

He said infamously: “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 later said that although he did not tolerate slavery, “I do not feel guilty about the fact that five or ten generations ago these people were slaves.”

Nor did he feel remorse in the subjugation of the Native Americans.

“I don’t think we have done wrong by taking away this great country. … [O]His alleged theft of this country from them was only a matter of survival, ”he said. “There were a large number of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it.”

He also considered perverted movies like “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy”, and used a gay insult to refer to the two main characters in the last movie.

Briceño believes that the name change is possible due to two factors: demographic changes and the wave of protests after the police murder of George Floyd.

Last year, registered Democrats outnumbered registered Republicans in the county who hosted Wayne and Republican Presidents Reagan and Nixon.

“The numbers have increased from last year to where I think we have about 40,000 more Democrats than Republicans,” Briceño said.

He added that protests after the death of Floyd, killed by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, has put police brutality and white supremacy in front of Americans who had not witnessed such a aggression.

“Who wants to be tied to white supremacy?” Briceño asked.

The resolution was signed by Briceño; Fred Smoller, associate professor of political science at Chapman University; and Michael Moodian, professor of leadership studies at Chapman.

Smoller and Moodian wrote an op-ed for the Voice of OC on June 23 in which they stated, “As Confederate statues and odes of Christopher Columbus are brought down across the country, Orange County must contend with their Own Tribute to a Racially Polarizing Figure: John Wayne The time has come to rename our airport and remove the Wayne statue.

There is also a separate petition requesting the removal of Wayne’s name which has collected more than 600 signatures.

The airport is located between the cities of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana.

A call to Newport Beach City Councilman Kevin Muldoon, who in 2017, as Mayor of that city, led an impulse to name a city park after Wayne, answered a phone call seeking comment.

Wayne lived a good part of his life in Newport Beach, was a county political power broker, a member of the John Birch Society, and was buried in the city after his death in 1979.

The calls and an email to Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel, whose district includes the airport, were not immediately answered, nor was it a call to Orange County Republican Party President Fred Whitaker.

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner said he had just learned of the Democratic resolution and was unaware of its wording or merit.

He mentioned that previous name change efforts had “popped up periodically” and generally “have no legs” with Orange County residents.

When asked about the Playboy article, Wagner said he was aware of the negativity surrounding the interview, but had not personally read it.