John Wayne Interview on Slavery, Native Americans, Draws New Controversy

Posted: Feb 20, 2019 10:30 AM
John Wayne Interview on Slavery, Native Americans, Draws New Controversy

Source: AP Photo

Earlier this week, comments from a 1971 John Wayne interview with Playboy magazine drew new hostility.

The actor, who was 64 at the time, spoke openly as always about his opinions. However, the opinions expressed were of a more... "controversial" nature than usual.

"I believe in white supremacy," he said. "We can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks."

Wayne also said he doesn't feel guilty about America's past with slavery.

"I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves," the Duke said. "Now, I'm not condoning slavery. It's just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has tow ear braces so he can't play football with the rest of us."

Wayne also expressed lack of sympathy for Native American and their history of being colonized.

"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that's what you're asking," he said. "Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."

The reactions to the rediscovery of this interview have been mixed. On the conservative side, it's been used as a way to point out liberal hypocrisy.

Others think it's foolish to be focusing on the opinions of a long-dead celebrity.

And some just made jokes.

However, this isn't the first time the interview has resurfaced. In 2016, Aissa Wayne, the Duke's daughter, endorsed President Trump for his first term. After her announcement, the Western icon's interview and comments were pulled back out of the woodwork.