John Wayne Day ‘shot down by political correctness’ over racism claims

Plans to hold a John Wayne Day in California have been rejected after politicians accused the actor of being racist. The idea to honour the Oscar-winning star of movies such as True Grit and The Alamo was defeated in the California assembly. It was put forward by assemblyman Matthew Harper, who described Wayne as the “prototypical American hero, symbolising such traits as self-reliance, grace under pressure, resolve, and patriotism”. But it kicked off a fierce debate, with assemblyman Luis Alejo saying: “He had disturbing views towards race.”

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,

John Wayne in a 1971 Playboy interview

Mr Harper wanted to declare 26 May - the Hollywood icon’s birthday - John Wayne Day. His supporters noted that Wayne, who died in 1979, was known for his conservative views and was an avid supporter of the US military, but also contributed to cancer research. However assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez complained that Wayne’s movies included “a lot of slaughtering of Native Americans” and that the actor had sanctioned the white occupation of Indian lands. The resolution was defeated by a 35-20 vote in what Mr Harper called “the orthodoxy of political correctness”.

Opposing the John Wayne Day resolution is like opposing apple pie, fireworks, baseball, the Free Enterprise system and the Fourth of July

Assemblyman Matthew Harper