Comments made by actor John Wayne in an old Playboy magazine interview — including a remark about white supremacy — recently spread online as social media users shared the Hollywood conservative’s ideas about race, socialism and more.
But did the western film star opine on the American flag and whether residents should question its place in public spaces?
"If you don’t want an American flag flying in your town square or at your school, then why the hell are you living in the US?" reads an April 7 Facebook post that attributes the quote to Wayne.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We reached out to the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum in Winterset, Iowa, which responded to an email from PolitiFact saying: "In our research, we do not find that John Wayne stated that."
He didn’t say it in Playboy in 1971, and searching for the exact quote that appeared in the Facebook post turned up eight web pages, mostly meme sites, but no credible, original sources. We found similar results searching for an abbreviated version of the quote.
Next we searched the Nexis database for the quote in all available English-language publications and found nothing. Searching for "John Wayne" and "American flag" and "town square," we couldn’t find the quote or anything similar, though a 2003 story about rural Texas auctions in the Los Angeles Times quotes a man who wants a full-sized American flag emblazoned with Wayne’s image.
We’ll reconsider this fact-check if a source for this statement surfaces. In the meantime, we rate it False.