Native American actors walk off set of new Adam Sandler movie

A dozen Native American actors walked off the set of the new Adam Sandler movie because the "satirical western’s script repeatedly insulted native women and elders and grossly misrepresented Apache culture."

Indian Country:

The examples of disrespect included Native women’s names such as Beaver’s Breath and No Bra, an actress portraying an Apache woman squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe, and feathers inappropriately positioned on a teepee.

The film, which is said to be a spoof of The Magnificent Sevenand was written by Adam Sandler and his frequent collaborator Tim Herlihy, is currently under production by Happy Madison Productions for a Netflix-only release.  The movie will star Adam Sandler, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Lovitz and Vanilla Ice. 

Among the actors who walked off the set were Navajo Nation tribal members Loren Anthony, who is also the lead singer of the metal band Bloodline, and film student Allison Young. Anthony says that though he understands the movie is a comedy, the portrayal of the Apache was severely negligent and the insults to women were more than enough reason to walk off the set.

“There were about a dozen of us who walked off the set,” said Anthony, who told ICTMN he had initially refused to do the movie. He then agreed to take the job when producers informed him they had hired a cultural consultant and efforts would be made for tasteful representation of Natives.

“I was asked a long time ago to do some work on this and I wasn't down for it. Then they told me it was going to be a comedy, but it would not be racist. So I agreed to it but on Monday things started getting weird on the set,” he said.

Anthony says he was first insulted that the movie costumes that were supposed to portray Apache were significantly incorrect and that the jokes seemed to get progressively worse.

"We were supposed to be Apache, but it was really stereotypical and we did not look Apache at all. We looked more like Comanche," he said. "One thing that really offended a lot of people was that there was a female character called Beaver's breath. One character says 'Hey, Beaver's Breath.' And the Native woman says, 'How did you know my name?'"

Stereotyping races and cultures is what Hollywood does - especially in comedy. But it's usually a lot more subtle than naming a female Native American character "No Bra." It isn't funny, nor is it appropriate in any context.

There have been several films in recent years where Native American culture from that time period has been accurately portrayed and created. Adam Sandler and the producers should have taken the time and made the effort to dress the set and actors correctly, according to Native American traditions. 

One actor said:

“Nothing has changed,” said Young. “We are still just Hollywood Indians.”

At least as far as Hollywood liberals are concerned, you are.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Sorry, Rick, but I probably disagree. Not that I am an Adam Sandler fan, and not that I have seen the movie. It's probably a very broad satire.  I don't have a lot of pateince for people who believe they are above satire.  Pending arrival of the movie, I'd warn against premature panty wadding.



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