Tags: Jane | Fonda's | 'Daddy | Dearest'

Jane Fonda's 'Daddy Dearest'

Sunday, 10 April 2005 12:00 AM

Despite her openness about her sex life and her revelations about her famous father, Fonda is less frank about her most notorious activities – her real-life role in giving lots of aid and comfort to an enemy that was in the process of killing 58,000 American servicemen and torturing American POWs.

She apologizes for allowing herself to be photographed smiling behind a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down U.S. aircraft, but the apology rings hollow when she remains defiantly unapologetic about her anti-war activities that helped North Vietnam win the war in the media while losing it on the battlefield.

Fonda, who earned the name "Hanoi Jane" after posing for photographs in which she appeared standing next to that anti-aircraft gun that had been used to shoot down American planes, admitted that it was a "betrayal" of the U.S. armed forces, and acknowledged that it was the "largest lapse of judgment that I can even imagine."

"I realize that it's not just a U.S. citizen laughing and clapping on a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun: I am Henry Fonda's privileged daughter who appears to be thumbing my nose at the country that has provided these privileges," she wrote.

That photo, she wrote, negated the prior two years in which she had worked extensively with Vietnam veterans, she said.

"Now, by mistake, I appear in a photograph to be their enemy. I carry this heavy in my heart. I always will," she wrote.

But she insists she has no regrets about the anti-American broadcasts she made on Radio Hanoi, nor the visits she made to American prisoners-of-war, claiming: "there are hundreds of American delegations that had met with the POWs. Both sides were using the POWs for propaganda ... It's not something that I will apologize for."

According to Snopes.com, Fonda's Hanoi radio broadcasts and propaganda films were especially painful and damaging to American servicemen held as prisoners of war by the Hanoi Reds. Communist interrogators used the Fonda recordings, along with starvation and torture, in attempting to brainwash American POWs into becoming turncoats.

Upon returning to the United States, Fonda told the world press that U.S. prisoners of war were being well-treated and not tortured. Her outrageous claims were later exposed when American POWs were finally freed and told of years of agonizing tortures and inhumane treatment. Fonda responded, not with an apology, but with an accusation calling our returned POWs "liars and hypocrites."

David Hoffman, a former POW who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1971, said that he had been tortured because of Fonda's visit to Hanoi. "The torture resulted in a permanent injury that plagues me to this day," says Hoffman, who suffers a disfigured arm inflicted by brutal communist guards at the POW camp known as the "Zoo."

"When Jane Fonda turned up, she asked that some of us come out and talk with her," he recalled bitterly. "No one wanted to. The guards got very upset, because they sensed the propaganda value of a famous American war protestor proving how well they were treating us.

"A couple of guards came to my cell and ordered me out. I resisted, and they got violently angry. My arm had been broken when I was shot down, and the Vietnamese broke it a second time. It had not healed well, and they knew it caused me great pain. "They twisted it. Excruciating pain ripped through my body.

"Still I resisted and they got more violent, hitting me and shouting, 'You must go!' I knew there was a limit to which I could push them before they might actually kill me.

"I was dragged out to see Fonda. I decided to play the role. I knew if I didn't, not only would I suffer - but the other guys would be tortured or beaten or worse."

When he saw the actress and heard her antiwar rhetoric, "I was almost sick to my stomach. She called us criminals and murderers.

"When I had to talk to the camera, I used every phony cliche I could. My arm hung limply at my side, and every move caused me pain, which showed in my face.

"When it was over, Fonda unbelievably did not see through the ruse - or she didn't want to. I was taken away politely - then shoved back into my cell.

"I detested Jane Fonda then and I detest her now - but I would fight to the death to protect her right to say what she thinks.

"What she did was a slap in the face to every American. It was wrong, ill-advised and stupid. But it was her right. Unfortunately, it was not my right to refuse to be seen with her.

"There is no way I will ever forget what she did to me. I have the reminder here - in an arm that can never be normal again.

On her return from Vietnam, Jane Fonda posed for the media, proudly sporting a necklace given to her by the North Vietnamese. It was made from the melted parts of a U.S. aircraft shot down by Hanoi.

But it all comes back to Daddy Dearest and the desire she felt to please the men in her life as she feels she was never able to please her father. Writing in Slate, Bryan Curtis explained that "her ever-mutating public image was stage-managed by the men in her life, who sought to mold her in their own image."

Henry Fonda, who he calls "a cold, churlish man," was "said to have cried only once, upon learning of the death of Franklin Roosevelt, treated her and her brother Peter like a pair of particularly unloved pets. His aloofness drove Fonda's mother, Frances, into a sanitarium, where she committed suicide by cutting her throat. (Fonda, then in grade school, learned the news by reading a film magazine.)

Henry drifts in and out of Fonda's life, occasionally reappearing to upbraid her for her nascent activism. This leaves Jane grievously perplexed: How could the man who played Abraham Lincoln, Tom Joad, and Clarence Darrow turn a cold eye to social justice?"

It was her efforts to please her three husbands that led her to do the things she now regrets. To please Roger Vadim, she shared her marriage bed with other women, many of whom were prostitutes she recruited; to please her second husband, the rabid Marxist Tom Hayden, she joined him in his fanatic pro-Communist war against America; and to please her last husband, Ted Turner, she accepted the role of submissive house wife.

She says she regrets not being a better parent to her own children when they were younger. Vanessa, 36, her daughter with Vadim, lives in Atlanta, where Fonda has made her home for the last 13 years. Her 31-year-old son with Hayden, Troy Garity, is an actor. He was named for a Communist hero, Nguyen Van Troi.

Fonda wrote she is determined not to create any more regrets. "The main thing [would be] if I get to the end of my life feeling I hadn't done all I could to be close to my children."


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Despite her openness about her sex life and her revelations about her famous father, Fonda is less frank about her most notorious activities - her real-life role in giving lots of aid and comfort to an enemy that was in the process of killing 58,000 American servicemen and...
Sunday, 10 April 2005 12:00 AM
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