Legendary cowboy actor and all-American tough guy John Wayne has posthumously infuriated social justice types, after a 1971 interview resurfaced in which the ‘True Grit’ actor criticized racial equality and homosexuality.
Speaking to Playboy magazine almost 50 years ago, Wayne unleashed a series of statements that would have him fired, sued, tarred and feathered if he uttered them in 2019. Wayne referred to “healthy, lusty sex” between a man and a woman as “wonderful,” but called homosexuality “perverted,” dismissing the Oscar-winning ‘Midnight Cowboy’ as “a love story about two f*gs.”
John Wayne aka Marion Mitchell Morrison, one of the most famous American actors, was a racist white man who was allowed to influence a generation.
— PowerToTheCause (@ColouredMedia) February 19, 2019
‘The Duke’ then slammed calls for reparations for Native Americans, saying “they should pay as much for Alcatraz as we paid them Manhattan.” Wayne blasted Hollywood for its “tokenism” and told Playboy that “we can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks.”
“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to the point of responsibility,” Wayne stated. “I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgement to irresponsible people.”
Predictably, Wayne’s most definitely un-woke worldview ruffled some feathers on Twitter.
I was a 16 in 1971. I've known John Wayne was a scmuck and a bigot since he started doing interviews. Times may have been different doesn't excuse his bigotry.
— Deep State Jim (@JimnBL) February 19, 2019
It exists, but it’s outdated. It is out there, but it isn’t acceptable. I was raised in the South as well. My father’s family goes back deep in the South for generations. He called it unacceptable when he growing up in the 50s. John Wayne’s ideas were out of date by 71
— Aaron Sagers (@aaronsagers) February 19, 2019
However, as more pointed out, Wayne’s opinions were typical of the time. “Who would have thought an interview from a 1971 edition of Playboy would contain outdated views,” wrote comedian Jonathan Pie. “Is there any way we can dig up his corpse and make it apologise?”
John Wayne, eh? Who would have thought an interview from a 1971 edition of Playboy would contain outdated views? Is there any way we can dig up his corpse and make it apologise?
— Jonathan Pie (@JonathanPieNews) February 19, 2019
If you weren’t at least in your mid-teens in 1971, you are clueless as to what people were thinking, saying, and doing at that time. I’m not allowed to write the words describing gay people and those who weren’t Caucasian that were used. The opinions of John Wayne were the norm.
— Robbin Young (@Robbin_Young) February 19, 2019
John Wayne died in 1979. The fact that some people are outraged now over what he said in a 1971 Playboy interview is just peak outrage culture. It’s not only ridiculous but it cheapens truly egregious events worthy of real outrage and attention. It’s like crying wolf every time.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) February 19, 2019
Wayne died in 1979, eight years after the interview. In the years since, parts of the interview have popped up to cause controversy. When Republican state Assemblyman Matthew Harper tried to have the actor’s birthday (May 26) commemorated in California as ‘John Wayne Day’ in 2016, a Democratic assemblyman argued against it, reading Wayne’s ‘white supremacy’ quote to the assembly floor.
The interview did the rounds again that same year, when Wayne’s daughter Aissa endorsed then-candidate Donald Trump for president.