Iconic actor John “Duke” Wayne, was an immensely popular celebrity during his hay day of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Wayne died of cancer in 1979, and his legion of fans have tried to keep his memory alive for future generations. Many of these fans were merely enamored by his movies and his strong masculine personality, and little else. Others, however, saw him then and continue to see him as an emblem of a dying breed of personality, one who would stand up and shout for contemptuous beliefs that were becoming increasingly vilified throughout society.
Wayne was a strong supporter of Sen. Joe McCarthy and the atrocities of his House Un-American Activities Committee, which destroyed the lives of thousands of law-abiding
And then there was his unabashed, unforgiving, pervasive racism. For years, he kept it well under wraps, but then after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1964, he became more willing to publicly discuss his views, and in an infamous interview with Playboy Magazine in 1971, he laid it all out for everyone: His vile hated of African-Americans and Native Americans.
In the interview, which can be read in its entirety here, John Wayne Playboy Interview, May, 1971, he stated the following regarding racism and African-Americans:
“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.
“…The academic community has developed certain tests that determine whether the blacks are sufficiently equipped scholastically. But some blacks have tried to force the issue and enter college when they haven’t passed the tests and don’t have the requisite background.”
As to Native Americans, when asked if he felt empathy for them Wayne stated the following:
“I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. 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.”
This is the real John Wayne.
The Wild Frontier: Atrocities During the American-Indian War by William M. Osborn
|So, now, 35 years after his death, his heirs are still raking in the big bucks off of his perverted legacy. Apparently, one of the big money makers is a Bourbon named after Wayne's most common nickname, "Duke", a moniker he took from a dog he came across early in his career. Anyway, his heirs in charge of marketing Bourbon, and who knows what else - "Duke" hats, coffee mugs, and DVDs one can presume - have run afoul of another entity that also uses the name "Duke", a certain well-established institution of higher learning, that has only been around since 1838, and that has been using that name for a century.|
The Wayne family, which a year ago sought trademark protection for the term “Duke”, despite the University already owning such a trademark, has now also filed a lawsuit in federal court, in California (far, far away from Duke University, located in North Carolina), apparently asking that the University be prohibited from objecting to the estate of the outspoken racist from using its name, DUKE, for their monetary gain.
If the estate wins, I’ll be bottling Harvard Scotch by the end of the year.