Jane Fonda became one of the most controversial celebrities in the world when she decided, in 1972, to visit Vietnam at the height of America’s war there — somehow thinking it was a good idea.
A photo of Fonda sitting on an anti-aircraft gun with enemy combatants went viral (though it wasn’t called that back then, of course). It earned her the nickname “Hanoi Jane” — along with the enmity and anger of millions of Americans.
The actress, now 79 years old, has never quite been able to shake that photo or that nickname. Yet she said in a recent interview on BBC’s “Hardtalk” that she does not regret her trip to Vietnam — though she does regret the picture.
“I don’t regret going to Vietnam,” said Fonda, a two-time Oscar-winning actress. “The United States was bombing the dikes in North Vietnam — earthen dikes in the Red River Delta. If the dikes had given way, according to Henry Kissinger, somewhere around 2 million people could have died of famine and drowning. And we were bombing, and it wasn’t being talked about. And I thought, ‘I’m a celebrity. Maybe if I go, and I bring back evidence …’And it did stop two months after I got back, so I’m proud that I went. It changed my life, all for the good.”
She added of the photo, “The thing that I regret is that on my last day there, I made the mistake of going to a ceremony at an anti-aircraft gun. It wasn’t being used. There were no airplanes or anything like that. There was a ceremony. I was asked to sing, and people were laughing and so forth and I was led, and I sat down. And then I got up and as I walked away, I realized, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s going to look like I am against my own country’s soldiers and siding with the enemy, which is the last thing in the world that was true.”
Her words certainly didn’t help earn her any points with those who clearly remember the picture, its implications and the message her visit to Vietnam sent to America’s brave soldiers — many drafted against their will into a highly controversial war.
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Despite the backlash from veterans and citizens alike, Fonda claims many military members even now reach out to her to say they understand her motivation for going to Vietnam.
Fonda said, “I get letters … I get letters on my blog, as I’m active on social media, from veterans who say, ‘I used to hate you, but I’ve realized now blah, blah, blah, blah, and I forgive you,’ and it makes me so happy, not just for me, but what I realize is, they understand now.”
In true head-in-the-clouds fashion — the actress also said in the same interview that she’s not “proud” of America.
“I’m proud of the resistance,” said Fonda.
“Let me ask you a simple question. Are you proud of America today?” asked host Stephen Sackur.
Fonda’s response? “No! But, I’m proud of the resistance. I’m proud of the people who are turning out in unprecedented numbers and continue and continue over and over and over again to protest what [President Donald] Trump is doing. I’m very proud of them, that core.”
It’s difficult to have sympathy for Fonda. She is a prime example of Hollywood elitism.
Even after all this time, this well-known actress and celebrity will still defend the decision that led to the label “Hanoi Jane.” In the same interview, she even goes on to say she’s not “proud” of America. Good grief.