Editorial

John Wayne’s Son Says The Legendary Actor Would Have Saved George Floyd’s Life, Wasn’t A ‘Racist’

(Photo: STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief
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John Wayne’s son Ethan is coming to his father’s defense.

There is currently a movement to rename John Wayne airport because of comments made by the iconic actor during a 1971 interview. He made the statement, “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.” Now, people want the airport renamed, but his son isn’t having any of it.

“Let me make one thing clear — John Wayne was not a racist … There is no question that the words spoken by John Wayne in an interview 50 years ago have caused pain and anger. They pained him as well, as he realized his true feelings were wrongly conveyed,” the legendary actor’s son said in a statement to Fox News about his father and the infamous Playboy interview. (REVIEW: ‘Westworld’ Season 3 Ends With The Possible Deaths Of Multiple Characters)

He also touched on the death of George Floyd and said, “One thing we know – if John Wayne were here today, he would be in the forefront demanding fairness and justice for all people. He would have pulled those officers off of George Floyd, because that was the right thing to do.”

Orange County politicians Fred Smoller and Dr. Michael Moodian told Fox News in part in a statement that “there is nothing in the historical record to support Ethan’s assertion” about his dad potentially saving George Floyd.

As I’ve said many times, it’s a dangerous game to start judging the actions of people from decades ago by the standards of today.

Are Wayne’s comments to Playboy in 1971 good? No, they’re pretty damn horrible, and there’s no way around it.

They are comments he absolutely shouldn’t have made, and there’s nothing that can be done to change that, especially because he’s been dead since 1979.

I’m also not sure his son needed to bring up George Floyd. Would John Wayne have saved his life if he was there?

We’ll never know, and there’s no point in bringing it up. It’s just foolish and completely unnecessary.

John Wayne was an actor who dominated Hollywood for decades, and he made some really regrettable comments in 1971 to Playboy.

Does that mean he should be scrubbed from the history books and all his impressive accomplishments be forgotten?

I’m not sure that’s necessary or smart. Wiping away history is the definition of a situation that can spiral out of control very quickly.