Jane Fonda’s infamous pro-communist visit to North Vietnam in July of 1972 has followed her for more than four decades; now the 77-year-old is again apologizing, this time calling her actions a “huge, huge mistake.”
On Saturday, a group of roughly 50 veterans, many carrying photos of Fonda posing with an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down American planes, protested outside a theater in Frederick, Md., where “Hanoi Jane” was scheduled to speak.
Fonda expatiated on the continued backlash in a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter, where she acknowledged the protesters:
Whenever possible, I try to sit down with vets and talk with them, because I understand and it makes me sad. It hurts me and it will to my grave that I made a huge, huge mistake that made a lot of people think I was against the soldiers.
I’m a lightning rod. This famous person goes and does something that looks like I’m against the troops, which wasn’t true, but it looked that way, and I’m a convenient target. So, I understand.
Others demonstrators held signs that read: “Forgive? Maybe. Forget? Never.”
“We’re not trying to interfere with anybody, who wants to be here and spend their money,” One unidentified protester said. “That’s their option. Our option is stand here and let them know that we don’t have any problem with anyone going to see her, but we have a problem with her being here.”
The actress and activist has made many apologies for her the notorious trip over the years. “I made one unforgivable mistake when I was in North Vietnam, and I will go to my grave with this,” she told the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2013.
The same year, Fonda made headlines when she was cast to play Nancy Reagan in the film The Butler. She then told opponents of the project to “Get a life.”
In reference to the casting choice, She told the Hollywood Reporter, “If it creates hoopla, it will cause more people to see the movie… I figured it would tweak the right. Who cares?”
Watch Jane Fonda discuss feminism, capitalism, and values in 1970: