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Social media is suddenly very angry over a John Wayne interview with Playboy from nearly 50 years ago
Getty Images: Bettmann/contributor

Social media is suddenly very angry over a John Wayne interview with Playboy from nearly 50 years ago

Today in 'how dumb'

A 1971 Playboy interview with the late John Wayne has resurfaced and is going viral on social media. The interview features Wayne speaking on hot-button issues such as immigration and race among other topics.

Wayne, a legendary actor and film staple, starred in more than 170 films between 1926 and 1977. He died at the age of 72 in 1979.

What are the details?

Screenwriter Matt Williams tweeted snippets of the 1971 interview, calling Wayne a "straight up piece of s**t."

In the interview, Wayne said that he "believes in white supremacy" and called Native Americans "selfish."

Asked about black and white relations in the U.S., Wayne said that he believes there's "quite a bit of resentment" among blacks in the U.S., but noted that "we can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks."

"I believe in white supremacy," he said, "until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility."

Nicknamed "Duke," Wayne also said that he believed Hollywood was taking its "tokenism" too far with inclusivity.

"I've directed two pictures and I gave blacks their proper position," Wayne said. "I had a black slave in 'The Alamo,' and I had a number of blacks in 'The Green Berets.'

"I think the Hollywood studios are carrying their tokenism a little too far," he added.

Wayne also addressed the topic of Native Americans, saying, "I don't feel we did wrong in taking [the U.S.] away from [Native Americans]. ... I think we ought to make a deal with the Indians. They should pay as much for Alcatraz as we paid them for Manhattan. I hope they haven't been careless with their wampum."

What was the reaction?

Wayne, who has been dead for nearly 40 years, took heavy fire for the remarks.

One social media user wrote, "I've always been convinced that no single person has done more to inspire awful nationalism than Wayne. Everyone thinks they're Wayne when they buy a gun and complain about 'thugs.' Gun nuts and racists buy into the Wayne version of the foundation of this country."

Another added, "This generation created maga'ts can't wait til they're done."

Despite the backlash, many more reasonable social media users saw the error in vilifying a dead man for remarks he made nearly a half-century ago.

One Twitter user wrote, "No!!!!! Not well known civil rights activist John Wayne?!"

Another user added, "You start reading 40-50 year old interviews and you're not going to like what a lot of famous people said about society."

At the time of this writing, Williams' tweet has received more than 33,000 likes and 6,000 comments.

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