John Wayne’s name has recently grabbed headlines as officials are pushing for a name change for a California airport. John Wayne Airport in Orange County is under pressure to be renamed by Democrats from the state after comments he made about white supremacy resurfaced.
With the legendary Western actor back in the news, his daughter’s decision in 2016 to voice not only her support of Donald Trump, but speak on the behalf of her late father, has come under the microscope. Standing beside the then-presidential candidate at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Iowa, Aissa Wayne shared with the crowd that if he was alive, her father would be “standing right here” next to Trump. "We need someone like Mr. Trump with leadership qualities, someone with courage," she declared. Trump then took the statements made by Wayne’s daughter a step further in announcing to the audience that an endorsement from John Wayne and the John Wayne family “means a lot.” Shortly after the scene unfolded, a statement was quickly put out by John Wayne Enterprises.
In it, the company revealed that neither them or the family supported what was said, “Aissa Wayne acted independently of both organizations and the Wayne family in her endorsement of Donald Trump.” The message also noted that no one is allowed to speak on behalf of the True Grit actor when it comes to politics.
The situation that is currently unfolding in California sees politicians calling for the removal of not just his name but also his likeness from the airport. The spark that ignited this movement comes after a Playboy interview from 1971 saw Wayne express some controversial remarks, one of which seeing him say that, “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.” This isn’t the first time Wayne, who passed away in 1979 at the age of 72, has come under fire as a result of that interview. It originally went viral in 2019 after it was rediscovered and a similar campaign was created to remove his name from the airport.
The original push didn’t receive much support, but it now has gained some serious steam in the wake of the current landscape across the country that has seen numerous statues being taken down that link back Confederate soldiers. There have also been many companies, like Aunt Jemima, that have changed their logos that trace back to racist roots. Even some music acts like Lady Antebellum changed its moniker to Lady A, and The Dixie Chicks dropped the Southern term in its name that dates back to slavery.