Lawmakers have shut down plans to declare 26 May John Wayne Day because of the actor's racist comments.
The Oscar-winner made his name playing cowboys and heroic soldiers in classic Hollywood movies including The Alamo, True Grit and The Green Berets. But in a State Assembly vote legislators lined up to denounce the Hollywood star, and objected to commemorating his birthday due to his "disturbing views towards race".
Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper had put forward the proposal to mark the day the actor was born, following a Texas resolution commemorating Wayne's birthday being passed last year (15). The bill, ACR137, failed 35-20 on Thursday (28Apr16) after some intense debate.
Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo of Watsonville denounced Wayne's views on race.
He quoted a 1971 interview the actor gave to Playboy magazine in which he said: "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."
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez quoted Wayne's views on Native Americans from the same interview: "Our 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," the actor told Playboy.
Wayne's support for the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee, recently profiled in Hollywood film Trumbo, and the far right John Birch Society was also brought up.
After the defeat Harper said the proposal failed due to "the orthodoxy of political correctness".