SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — In the latest move to change place names in light of U.S. racial history, leaders of Orange County’s Democratic Party are pushing to drop film legend John Wayne’s name, statue and other likenesses from the county’s airport because of his racist and bigoted comments.
The Los Angeles Times reported that earlier this week, officials passed an emergency resolution condemning Wayne’s “racist and bigoted statements” made in a 1971 interview and are calling on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to drop his name, statue and other likenesses from the international airport.
The resolution asked the board “to restore its original name: Orange County Airport.”
“There have been past efforts to get this done and now we’re putting our name and our backing into this to make sure there is a name change,” said Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County.
According to those who crafted the resolution, the effort to oust Wayne, a longtime resident of Orange County who died in 1979, is part of “a national movement to remove white supremacist symbols and names (that are) reshaping American institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues and teams.”
In a 1971 Playboy magazine interview, Wayne makes bigoted statements against Black people, Native Americans and the LGBTQ community.
“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,” he said.
Wayne also said that although he didn’t condone slavery: “I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves.”
The actor said he felt no remorse in the subjugation of Native Americans.
“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,” he said. “There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”
Wayne also called movies such as “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy” perverted, and used a gay slur to refer to the two main characters of the latter film.
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner told the newspaper that he had just heard about the Democratic resolution and was unaware of its wording or merit.
Rolling Stones threaten to sue Trump over using their songs
LONDON (AP) — The Rolling Stones are threatening President Donald Trump with legal action for using their songs at his rallies despite cease-and-desist directives.
The Stones said in a statement Sunday that their legal team is working with music rights organization BMI to stop use of their material in Trump’s reelection campaign.
“The BMI have notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorized use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement,’’ the Stones said. “If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.’’
The Trump campaign team didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The Stones had complained during Trump’s 2016 campaign about the use of their music to fire up his conservative base at rallies.
The Rolling Stones’ 1969 classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was a popular song for his events. It was played again at the close of Trump’s recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — an indoor event criticized for its potential to spread the coronavirus.
The music rights organization BMI provides licenses for venues to play a broad array of music and has a catalog of more than 15 million songs that can be played at political events. Artists can opt out of having their music played at political events, and a BMI statement says the Stones have done that.
BMI has informed the Trump campaign that if it plays Stones music again at an event, it will be in breach of its licensing agreement, the statement said.
Other artists have also complained about having their music associated with Trump’s events.
The family of the late rock musician Tom Petty said that it had issued a cease-and-desist order after Trump used the song “I Won’t Back Down’’ in Tulsa.
“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,’’ the statement said. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his to be used in a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.’’
Grammy Award-winning musician Neil Young lashed out at Trump in 2018 after hearing one of his songs played against his wishes during Trump’s pre-midterm campaign rallies. The Canadian-born musician admonished Trump for using his 1990 single, “Rockin’ in the Free World,” in spite of earlier warnings.