Just a few days ago, I wrote about the Adam Sandler The Ridiculous Six scandal that I’d hoped that the story would stay around long enough for some change to really stick. Thank goodness my dreams came true, because, unlike what Netflix probably wanted, the story is still making the news, meaning that if it’s news on Monday, it’ll probably stay in the news all week long.
So what’s been going down? First, if you aren’t aware of the initial issue, read this post. Now that you’re caught up, here’s what’s new.
Ben Shelly, the president of the Navajo Nation, issued a statement condemning the film, stating that “[e]nough is enough.”
“Our Native American culture and tradition is no joking matter. I applaud these Navajo actors for their courage and conviction to walk off the set in protest. Native people have dealt with negative stereotypes in film for too long. Enough is enough.”
Allison Young, who is listed as Allie in this Rolling Stone post, gave a first-hand account to MSNBC of the offense she and the other actors suffered on set.
Young and others were also guests on podcast Native America Calling, which you can listen to right here.
Also, there’s video someone took while on set. The video shows the actors arguing with producers about the offensive jokes and lack of cultural correctness:
There’s also a page of the script that was leaked to Indian Country Today Media Network. IT. IS. OFFENSIVE. On many levels. It not only reinforces stereotypes about “hot Indian women” (one character is named “Smoking Fox”), but it also is body shaming (why does the “chubby woman” have be named something awful like “Beaver Breath”?) and everything written has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Apache culture. I’m not an expert, but I can tell you that that whole page reads like someone trying to write Neanderthals. It’s complete garbage, even for a Sandler movie. Even worse stuff, like a woman being named after a vagina and shaping feathers into a vagina, can be read about here.
Also, Loren Anthony, one of the actors, tweeted that he had been getting death threats for taking a stand and walking off the set, which is highly unfortunate.
Threats on my life because i stood up for something i believe in, is better than not speaking out and dying for nothing.
— Loren Anthony (@BLOODLINE1) April 26, 2015
And, in case you wanted to know what Vanilla Ice thinks about this, he supports Sandler and the film’s jokes. That’s just fantastic. And, of course, he’s part Native American. Everyone’s part Native, aren’t they? (Interestingly enough, this also—allegedly—includes me.) This reminds me of the joke Dave Chappelle made about a news outlet asking Ja Rule what he thought about the Twin Towers collapsing. “Who gives a f*** what Ja Rule thinks at a time like this!?” CC: Vanilla Ice.
Just as a quick rant about Sandler comedies in general—when was the last time Sandler has put out a relevant, actually funny comedy? The only Sandler film I really like is The Wedding Singer, because for once, he wasn’t playing a man-child or some kind of possibly offensive portrayal of a special needs individual. In The Wedding Singer, Sandler was playing a man who just wanted to find love. I can get with that. But now, Sandler’s gotten lazy with his writing and his acting. And, in so many words, he’s admitted it when he said that he only picks the locales in his latest films just to get paid vacations.
With his track record, we shouldn’t be surprised that Ridiculous Six has this kind of comedy, but still…it’s very surprising. It’s even lower than what I’d expect from a typical post-1999 Sandler film. The comedy does, indeed, live up to the title of “ridiculous” in the worst possible way.
At the very least, maybe this will teach Sandler and the writing team to think a lot harder about their comedy before they just write some offensive ish down. But honestly, I’m hoping that this scandal will make the rest of Hollywood wake up when it comes to their pervasive use of Native stereotypes. As Shelly said, enough is enough.
What do you think of this news so far? Give your comments below!