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Leaders desire John Wayne name, statue gone from Orange County airport

The Democratic Celebration of Orange County, California, is pushing to eliminate John Wayne’s name and statue from the county’s airport because of racist and bigoted remarks the film legend made.

The Democratic Celebration of Orange County passed a resolution last week condemning “white supremacist, anti-LGBT and anti-Indigenous views” Wayne made in a 1971 interview.

The resolution asks the county’s Board of Supervisors to restore the global airport’s initial name: Orange County Airport.

” Orange County is now a varied region far various from the time when John Wayne was picked as namesake for the airport,” the resolution states. It cites a current annual study that states 79 percent of respondents see the county’s increasing ethnic variety as “a source of excellent strength.”

” A global airport that invites millions of people each year should not be called for someone whose beliefs oppose our country’s worths of equal opportunity and justice for all,” said Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County.

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The effort is part of “a nationwide motion to eliminate white supremacist symbols and names” that is “reshaping American organizations, monuments, companies, nonprofits, sports leagues and groups, as it is commonly acknowledged that racist signs produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma especially to Black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups, and the removal of racist signs provides a necessary process for communities to remember historic acts of violence and acknowledge victims of oppression,” the resolution states.

Politics in the county, which for years was a Republican fortress, have actually shifted in the last year. Information from the Orange County Registrar of Voters reveals that registered Democrats outnumber Republican politicians, 607,024 to 567,665

Wayne, a long time citizen of Orange County, died in 1979 at 72.

In April 2016, a resolution to honor Wayne in California was shot down in the state Assembly after critics expressed issue about bigoted statements he had made versus Black people, Native Americans and members of the LGBTQ neighborhood. A Republican Assembly member had actually looked for to declare Might 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to mark the day the star was born.

In a 1971 interview, Wayne told Playboy magazine: “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the management of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are informed to a point of duty. I do not think in providing authority and positions of management and judgment to careless individuals.”

He also stated that although he didn’t condone slavery, “I do not feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these individuals were slaves.”

Wayne called motion pictures such as “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy” perverted and used a gay slur to describe the 2 main characters of the latter movie.

Asked whether he felt any empathy toward American Indians, Wayne said: “I do not feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was simply a matter of survival.”

He included, “There were great numbers of individuals who required colony, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it on their own.”

Image: Janelle Griffith Janelle Griffith

Janelle Griffith is a breaking news press reporter for NBC News.

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