Sharon Osbourne has entered into the debate about the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. The airport has been the focus of a nationwide discussion after local Democrats revealed they want it renamed. The politicians cited John Wayne's public comments about Black people, where he expressed numerous racist views. Osbourne, the wife of Ozzy Osbourne, is not a fan of the Chisum and The Searchers actor because of this and made her thoughts on matter known to The Daily Star.
"It just gives me the creeps. There has always been this reputation of him of really hating blacks, Jews, anybody that wasn't white," she said. "When the airport came, I was like: 'Why would you give this man this honor of having an airport named after somebody like that, who is just a bad man, a really ugly man?' We cannot celebrate these people that we once thought were heroes."
The Hollywood icon, known for movies like The Alamo and True Grit, told Playboy in a 1971 interview, which can be read in full via the University of Virginia, that he believed "in white supremacy" because he thought Black people were uneducated.
"We can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the Blacks," he said in response to a question about Angela Davis facing racism in the educational system. "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."
As the discourse continued, he added that he didn't "feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves." He also thought that "any Black who can compete with a white today can get a better break than a white man."
Wayne's son, Ethan Wayne, has since tried to quell the backlash against his late father, who died in 1979. After the controversy erupted, he issued a statement to press claiming his dad was not a racist and "would have pulled those officers off of George Floyd." (However, experts disagree with Ethan's defense.)0comments
"Let me make one thing clear — John Wayne was not a racist," the statement began. "I know that term is casually tossed around these days, but I take it very seriously. I also understand how we got to this point. 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."
Later in the statement, he added, "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. He would stand for everyone's right to protest and work towards change.