Box office success can’t save Jane Fonda from herself. The #1 opening of her movie wasn’t enough to deflect attention from her actions, to her acting.
Her 1972 anti-U.S. photo op with Veitnamese soldiers in which she posed on an anti aircraft gun still casts a looming shadow over Fonda’s personal and professional life.
The movie, also starring Jennifer Lopez, depicts a mother who feuds with her sons new bride. Monster In Law opened with $23 million in ticket sales, and is the first movie for Fonda in 15 years.
But instead of savoring the flavor of its success, the former wife of Ted Turner is being force fed fresh accusations of treason by veterans across the country.
During an April appearance in Kansas City Missouri, Jane Fonda had been signing copies of her new book “My Life So Far”. Some 900 fans lined up to see the actress, one man had other plans in mind.
54 year old Michael A. Smith, a Vietnam Vet, waited patiently in line for his turn in front of Fonda, where he promptly spit tobacco juice on her.
He told a local newspaper that Fonda was a “Traitor”. He also admitted that he doesn’t even chew tobacco, and that he did so on this day just to spit on Fonda.
“She spit in our faces for 37 years. It was absolutely worth it. There are a lot of veterans who would love to do what I did.”
It was undoubtedly an embarrassing episode for the actress, but witnesses say she took it in stride. She never left her seat, smiled, and calmly wiped the stain off. Fonda said in a statement released shortly after that “In spite of the incident, my experience in Kansas City was wonderful and I thank all the warm and supportive people, including so many veterans, who came to welcome me last night.”
Despite attempts to apologize her way through this decades issue, like a smart missile, the problems always seem to hit their target.
This week brought word of new trouble, with the announcement of a theater owner in Kentucky that he will not play the movie in any of the theaters he owns.
It is just the latest in a flood of backlash that Fonda has been receiving for over 30 years. If she thought that she had moved past her admitted mistake, she is learning the hard way that a soul wounded carries long its scars.
Her attempt at protesting went beyond merely being a voice of opposition. Appearing with the enemy soldiers, she was viewed as being a friend of the enemy, supporting, if not aiding in the killing of American soldiers.
Add to that the current wartime state of America, and Fonda finds herself surrounded, unable to escape the dark cloud of retribution. It has been said that time heals all wounds. Over thirty years later, the wounds of Jane Fonda’s Vietnam protest are still fresh with many veterans. Fonda is left to wonder, just how much time will it take.