Jane Fonda has been controversial ever since the Vietnam War, when she went to Vietnam and had her picture taken with several Vietnamese soldiers. This year, the American Film Institute granted her a Lifetime Achievement Award, which for many brought back old resentments from her days of protest and pacifism. Many Vietnam veterans and their families are now angry that Jane Fonda has won the award.
It was not simply her picture taken with soldiers from North Vietnam that angered American veterans, but her assertion that those fighting the war were essentially committing a crime. For her words as well as her actions, many veterans and their loved ones accused Jane Fonda of committing an act of treason. Some have gone so far as to state that she should be imprisoned, but many simply feel that she has forsaken her fellow countrymen and should receive no recognition, even for her work in the arts, the Fox News reports.
Those involved with the AFI and with the field of film acting in general have largely stood behind her, some with admiration. A great deal of this admiration stems from her work in film, which was of course the focus of the award. Others did not specifically reference the role Jane Fonda played in the American consciousness during the Vietnam War, but stated nonetheless that she is a heroine as well as a female role model. This adoration has further angered those who feel that she was undeserving of the award.
Some who have expressed distaste with the actress appear to be meeting the issue halfway. They support her right to her opinion, but feel that her visit to meet the soldiers was a step too far. Some have taken their disdain for Jane Fonda to such a level that they have expressed plans to boycott any movie starring those who supported her at the AFI’s award ceremony. The ceremony also referenced her nickname, Hanoi Jane, which left a bitter taste with some.
It appears that Jane Fonda will always be a controversial name with Vietnam veterans and those who survive them. Despite this, she still has many fans and supporters. Given the length of time that has come and gone since her controversial picture was taken, views on the subject are deep-rooted and unlikely to change. Jane Fonda will always be remembered as a great actress by many, yet as a traitor by many others.