Jane Fonda said she’s still confronted by Vietnam War veterans over her 1970s anti-war activism and welcomes the encounters.
Such moments provide an opportunity to talk, she said, which needs to be done with what Fonda called “an open mind and a soft heart.”
The actress drew bitter criticism after being photographed atop an anti-aircraft gun during a controversial 1972 visit to North Vietnam. Meeting with TV critics Wednesday to discuss a new HBO documentary on her life, she expressed regret for that moment.
She said it was thoughtless to perch on the gun and called it “horrible” to think about the message her action sent to soldiers and their families, she said.
It was an earlier meeting with U.S. soldiers in Paris that sparked her activism, Fonda said. Her belief that America always fought on “the side of the angels” was shaken by what she heard and later read.
Her late father, the famed actor Henry Fonda, was a World War II veteran and Jane Fonda had served as “Miss Army Recruiter” in 1954.
She felt betrayed and lied to by America’s leadership over the war and decided she would do everything possible to help stop it as part of a movement, Fonda said.
At age 80, Fonda looks back at her life in HBO’s “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” from director-producer Susan Lacy and debuting this fall. Fonda continues to work, starring opposite Lily Tomlin on the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie” and working with Tomlin and Dolly Parton on a sequel to their hit 1980 movie “9 to 5.”
The new take on women’s mistreatment in the workplace will have to address how the situation is worse today in some regards, including treatment of contract workers, or she won’t be in it, Fonda said.
On the bright side, Fonda said she expects to see sexual harassment decline “because guys are scared.”