Chairwoman Takes On Liberals Targeting John Wayne Airport's Namesake
Firday, Orange County California Democrats passed a resolution aimed at changing the name of John Wayne Airport. Their motion to change the name to Orange County Airport is following a trend of protests across the nation. Democrats cite that Wayne was a white supremacist, homophobe, with anti-native American views after reports of comments he made to Playboy magazine back in 1971 resurfaced.
Wayne's family released a statement after the backlash hit:
“We hope America remembers John Wayne as we do: a devoted family man, great friend and cherished actor on the big screen, as well as for his continuing work to find a cure for cancer through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and the John Wayne Cancer Institute,” the John Wayne Family wrote.
“It’s unfair to judge someone on something that was written that he said nearly 50 years ago when the person is no longer here to respond,” the statement continued. “Regardless of color, ethnicity or sexual preference, [our] father taught us to treat all people the same, with respect.”
While Wayne's comments were certainly derogatory his family describes him as someone who was for equality and justice in his later years, painted a picture that Wayne would have stepped in to save George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died while in police custody.
Second District Supervisor for Orange County and chairs of the board, Michelle Steel, joined the fight against the name change. Steel said that Wayne shouldn't be remembered for a single day worth of comments over a lifetime of contributions to his community.
Steel issued a statement Monday, saying:
"John Wayne led the movement to make Orange County home to Vietnamese refugees, he was an ardent supporter of our men and women in uniform, and his family foundation has been a national leader in cancer research.
As an immigrant to our country, I am extremely sensitive to the actions and statements of people who perpetuate and make racist statements. The comments by John Wayne from 50 years ago are wrong and sad from someone who so many people across America hold in high regard.
While I have experienced racism first-hand, I do believe that a person should be judged on the totality of their actions and contributions to society which is why I support keeping the name John Wayne Airport.
John Wayne's contributions to families in Southern California and across America live on to this day. He personally worked to assist Vietnamese refugees resettle in America, many of whom still live here in Orange County. The John Wayne Cancer Foundation's investments in research have resulted in groundbreaking treatments and the establishment of a cancer institute in Santa Monica. Because of his dedication to our military and country, Mr. Wayne received both the Naval Heritage Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States."