A group of local veterans is set to stage a protest at Greenwood’s REI Cinemas Friday night in protest of Jane Fonda, better known to them as “Hanoi Jane,” as Nancy Reagan in the movie “The Butler.”
Fonda is no friend to Vietnam War-era veterans after she was photographed in a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery during her visit to enemy territory in 1972. Fonda openly supported the North Vietnamese government and was a very vocal anti-war protester. She has been widely quoted calling American soldiers war criminals and murderers.
After returning from her two-week trip to North Vietnam, Fonda said that American POWs were not being mistreated or tortured. As POWs began to return to the U.S. in 1973 and detailed their torture at the hands of their North Vietnamese captors, Fonda called them hypocrites and liars.
On her website, Fonda says she regrets taking the picture in the anti-aircraft battery and calling the former POWs hypocrites and liars. Fonda says she was overcome with emotion when the famous Hanoi Jane photo was taken and that she tried to keep the pictures from being published, to no avail.
About a year ago, 20-year Navy Veteran Larry Reyes learned of Fonda being cast as Nancy Reagan, the wife of U.S. President and staunch military supporter Ronald Reagan, in the upcoming film and felt he needed to take action.
“I was Outraged that (the makers of the film) would do stunt casting and have this traitor to our nation be cast portraying someone so honorable,” Reyes said in an interview with GwdToday. “’Hanoi Jane’ should not make one penny in our nation, one she has betrayed.”
Reyes started a Facebook page called “Boycott Hanoi Jane Playing Nancy Reagan.” The page has nearly 28,000 fans. Eric Murdock, a retired Air Force colonel who now resides in Greenwood, saw the page and decided to do something about it. Murdock has organized a protest at REI Cinemas in Greenwood. Murdock obtained a permit from the Greenwood Police Department and will at the theater Friday at 6 p.m. and again on Saturday at 3 p.m.
“I would probably go see the movie if it were not for (Fonda playing Nancy Reagan),” Murdock said. “I have no use for Jane Fonda whatsoever. I have no fight with the movie or the story told in the movie. I have a problem with Jane Fonda showing up for interviews wearing her anti-war shirt and telling veterans to get a life.”
According to a Fox News report from April, after hearing about the boycott, Fonda said veterans should “get a life.” She is also reported as saying that she knew her casting would “tweak the right. Who cares?”
The answer to Fonda’s question is a lot of veterans in Greenwood and across the U.S.