Who is Hanoi Jane?
Jane Fonda, a.k.a. Hanoi Jane, is an American actress, writer and political activist. In more than 50 years of her actress career, she has won two Academy Oscars, an Emmy Award, and three Golden Globes. Jane Fonda was also famous for her opposition to the Vietnam War with controversial activities during her trip to Hanoi, where the name Hanoi Jane was derived from.
Fonda began to engage in movements against the Vietnam War as early as 1967. As an active activist, she participated in many anti-war demonstrations, rallies, radio broadcasts and plays. By April 1970, Fonda helped form the FTA tour (Free The Army) – an anti-war road show performed in military towns with the goal to establish a dialogue with soldiers about their upcoming deployments in Vietnam. She was also a major financial supporter of The Vietnam Veterans Against the War Organization (VVAW), a non-profit organization originally created to oppose the Vietnam War. In addition, Fonda even personally sought out returning veterans to appeal them to publicly speak out against American atrocities against Vietnamese woman and children.
In July 1972, Jane Fonda arrived in Hanoi and began a two-week tour in the North Vietnam. She visited North Vietnamese villages, hospitals, schools, and factories which were damaged by American bombings. Motivated from what she was “allowed” to see, Fonda made a total of ten radio broadcasts to denounce the U.S. military policy to U.S. serviceman via Radio Hanoi.
During the trip, she also posed for photographs while sitting on an anti-aircraft gun set up in a rural area near Hanoi. Her pictures taken when she applauded and smiled with an NVA anti-aircraft gun crew, who attempted to shoot down American planes, outraged a large number of American soldiers and civilians. In 1973, she even accused the returning POWs, who affirmed the torture policy of the North Vietnamese, as “hypocrites and liars”. In an interview with The New York Times in the same year, although she confirmed that there were some incidents of torture, she did not believe it was systematic.
In 1988, Fonda finally apologized for her actions in an interview with Barbara Walters. However, this televised apology came at the time when one of her film projects was disrupting by New England Veterans, leading some to believe that her apology was motivated by self-interest. In 2005, Fonda also made another apology in which she expressed her deep regret for her pose beside the North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. However, she distinguished it from her other activities in North Vietnam and stated that her activities were just an attempt to stop the war and that was not something she would apologize for.