April 25, 2015 – Earlier this week, a group of Native American actors walked off the New Mexico film set of Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six after confronting a script they found offensive to women, elders and Native American culture in general. Sited examples of disrespect in the Netflix production 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.
Among the actors who walked off the set were Navajo Nation tribal members Loren Anthony and film student Allison Young. “I was asked a long time ago to do some work on this and I wasn’t down for it,” Anthony told the Indian Country Today Media Network. “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,” Young added, “When I began doing this film, I had an uneasy feeling inside of me and I felt so conflicted. I talked to a former instructor at Dartmouth and he told me to take this as finally experiencing stereotyping first hand. We talked to the producers about our concerns. They just told us:
“If you guys are so sensitive, you should leave.”
Young went on to say, “I was just standing there and got emotional and teary-eyed. I didn’t want to cry but the feeling just came over me. This is supposed to be a comedy that makes you laugh. A film like this should not make someone feel this way. Nothing has changed,” said Young. “We are still just Hollywood Indians.”
Netflix responded to the controversy with this statement: “The movie has ‘ridiculous’ in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous. It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of — but in on — the joke.”
Is Sandler’s sense of humor funny or offensive? You decide. Vote now!