The world recognizes actor John Wayne for his involvement in Western filmmaking and conservative politics. However, he strongly considered himself to be a liberal until people told him otherwise. Wayne once talked about gay rights, calling the celebration of LGBTQ identity “abnormal” and compared it to honoring “tuberculosis victims.”
John Wayne’s infamous Playboy interview put him in hot water
Scott Eyman explored the personal life and career of Wayne in John Wayne: The Life and Legend. He touched on the infamous Playboy interview that continues to reappear to this day. However, Eyman discussed the actor’s statements surrounding Black populations and the LGBTQ community. As a result, the interview reopened the political wounds that he incurred after making The Green Berets regarding the Vietnam War.
Wayne used a slur to describe the gay narrative in the Oscar-winning movie Midnight Cowboy, explaining that such topics shouldn’t be in motion pictures. Additionally, he dug into some sensitive racial issues that continue to haunt his legacy.
“I believe in white supremacy until the Blacks are educated to a point of responsibility,” Wayne said. “I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”
John Wayne once compared the ‘abnormal’ act of celebrating gay rights to ‘tuberculosis victims’
Eyman explained that a year after the Playboy interview, Wayne was made the grand marshal of the Rose Bowl Parade. However, the USC Daily Trojan called the selection, “a gross insult to Blacks, to American Indians and to Americans of any race who believe in equality. John Wayne is a blatant racist.”
However, things went to another level when a reporter asked Wayne about his stance on gay rights. The actor wasn’t expecting to hear that question, given the initial pause in his response.
“I think gay people, personally,” Wayne began with a pause. “You know, I’m an older man, and I’ve been thrown in a lot of experiences, and I have a feeling that it’s abnormal and it’s certainly not the natural way we were put on earth.”
Wayne continued: “So I see no reason to jump with joy because somebody is gay, and I don’t see any reason for waving a flag for all the wonderful things gays have done for the world any more than you’d say, ‘Oh, boy, hooray for the tuberculosis victim!’ It’s abnormal to me.”
The actor said that he didn’t judge people for their private lives
However, Wayne wanted to emphasize that he didn’t have a hatred for gay people, despite what much of the public believed. Nevertheless, he still never saw the point in celebrating LGBTQ identity.
“Now, as far as having them live their own life, I feel that a man has a right to live his life the way he wishes—as long as he doesn’t interfere with me having my rights,” Wayne said, according to Eyman. “So I have nothing against them, but I certainly see no reason to jump with joy about it.”