Remove John Wayne's Name from Orange County Airport

Orange County Board of Supervisors

Many are learning that John Wayne -- the person, not the characters he played in film -- was an admitted white supremacist, homophobe, and misogynist. Widely circulated interviews and videos document Wayne’s beliefs.

In a now-infamous 1971 Playboy interview, he stated:

“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. ... I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves.”

About Indigenous Americans, Wayne said: “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. … [O]ur 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.”

Wayne used a gay slur to describe the lead actors in Midnight Cowboy, and considered the movie and Easy Rider "perverted."

John Wayne's white supremacist beliefs have come under increasing controversy. In 2016, the California State Assembly rejected "John Wayne Day." In 2019, his racist remarks came to light on Twitter and the Los Angeles Times and OC Register published opeds calling for his name to be removed. USC students called for his memorabilia to be removed from campus.

Today, these efforts continue. On June 26, the Democratic Party of Orange County passed a resolution on calling for the removal of John Wayne’s name and likeness. On June 28, Calif. State Senator Tom Umberg, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former federal criminal prosecutor, released an oped calling for his name to be removed.

More organizations are calling for change: the OC NAACP, California Democratic Party African-American Caucus, CAIR-LA (Council on American-Islamic Relations - Los Angeles), CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights), Chicanxs Unidxs, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development), and United Food and Commercial Workers are joining the call for change.

Please add your name - let's tell the Orange County Board of Supervisors it's time for Orange County's international airport to reflect Orange County's values.

Petition by
Mary Carter
Anaheim, California

To: Orange County Board of Supervisors
From: [Your Name]

I urge you to remove John Wayne's name from the Orange County Airport. It's time to restore Orange County Airport to its original name, and leave behind the harmful legacy of John Wayne's avowed white supremacist beliefs.

John Wayne is an admitted white supremacist with anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and anti-LGBTQ views. Widely circulated interviews document Wayne’s views. He made them plain in a 1971 Playboy interview, saying, "I believe in white supremacy." These views are deeply harmful to many people in Orange County, and demonstrate a lack of understanding on the part of lawmakers.

Orange County is a diverse metropolitan region where a majority of residents believe our diversity is a source of strength. Caucasians comprise just 40% of the population, and Orange County Airport should reflect our values. John Wayne's views do not represent Orange County, and should be removed from any institution funded by taxpayer dollars.