The daughters of the late Hollywood star John Wayne are speaking out to defend him this week after the resurfacing of his controversial 1971 interview with Playboy.
“I believe in white supremacy until the Blacks are educated to a point of responsibility,” Wayne told Playboy in the interview. “I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”
At other points in the interview, Wayne said he had no remorse for the subjugation of Native Americans, and called movies like Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider “perverted.” Despite this, Wayne’s daughters are defending their father, who passed away eight years after the interview took place.
“He definitely had his opinions, but he respected you if you disagreed with him,” Marisa Wayne told Closer Weekly. “He had an ability to see both sides of the story.”
Wayne’s daughter Aissa Wayne agreed, saying that her dad “loved people,” going on to insist that he was always a “people person.”
“He cared about his fellow human beings,” she said. “I think that really was a big feature about him.”
Their brother Ethan Wayne, who is president of John Wayne Enterprises, agreed with his sisters.
“Let me make one thing clear — John Wayne was not a racist,” he said in a statement. “Those who knew him knew he judged everyone as an individual and believed everyone deserved an equal opportunity. He called out bigotry when he saw it. He hired and worked with people of all races, creeds and sexual orientations. John Wayne stood for the very best for all of us — a society that doesn’t discriminate against anyone seeking the American dream.”
This comes one month after Ethan defended his father in a statement to
“Let me make one thing clear — John Wayne was not a racist. I know that term is casually tossed around these days, but I take it very seriously,” he said. “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.”
“The truth is, as we have seen in papers from his archives, he did not support ‘white supremacy’ in any way and believed that responsible people should gain power without the use of violence,” Ethan added, going on to say that the Playboy interview does not depict who his father really was.
“Those who knew him, knew he judged everyone as an individual and believed everyone deserved an equal opportunity,” Ethan said. “He called out bigotry when he saw it. He hired and worked with people of all races, creeds, and sexual orientations. John Wayne stood for the very best for all of us — a society that doesn’t discriminate against anyone seeking the American dream.”