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David Emery

Jane Fonda Decries 'Grotesque' Internet Lies About Her Anti-War Activities

By July 23, 2011

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Listen up, haters: Jane Fonda has a blog and she's not afraid to use it. Here's an excerpt from an entry she posted on July 22 entitled "The Truth About My Trip to Hanoi":

It is unconscionable that extremist groups circulate letters which accuse me of horrific things, saying that I am a traitor, that POWs in Hanoi were tied up and in chains and marched passed me while I spat at them and called them baby killers. These letters also say that when the POWs were brought into the room for a meeting I had with them, we shook hands and they passed me tiny slips of paper on which they had written their social security numbers. Supposedly, this was so that I could bring back proof to the U.S. military that they were alive. The story goes on to say that I handed these slips of paper over to the North Vietnamese guards and, as a result, at least one of the men was tortured to death. That these stories could be given credence shows how little people know of the realities in North Vietnam prisons at the time.

Hard to believe it was nearly 12 years ago that I first investigated the infamous "Hanoi Jane" email, a viral message (still circulating as we speak) which indeed makes the claim that Fonda called American POWs "baby killers" and instigated their torture by turning over handwritten notes they'd secretly given her to their Viet Cong captors.

That she did no such thing was easily proven. The email mentions two ex-POWs by name, both of whom I was able to contact personally and ask what really happened. While neither of the men expressed any fondness (to put it mildly) for the activist actress or her politics, both men said the email was bunk and were eager to have their names and reputations disassociated from it.

So that's what I wrote.

I immediately heard from irate readers who felt I'd "defended" Fonda and/or "whitewashed" her behavior in Vietnam. I also heard from a few Fonda apologists who complained that my blunt description of the things she actually did do on that ill-advised Hanoi tour was unfair. You can't please everybody.

My one real regret was being unable to get through to Fonda for a statement. My editor at the time happened to have the number to her office in Atlanta, but when I called I was told by her staff that she was "unavailable for comment." I think she and her handlers were unaware — as most public figures were at the time — how insidious and persistent Internet rumors can be.

Well, no more. Finally, after 12 tight-lipped years, Fonda sets the record straight in her own words and excoriates right-wing "demonizers" for exploiting "lies and distortions" for political gain.

Love her or hate her, it's a compelling read.

Learn more about it:
'Hanoi Jane' Email Rumors Blend Fact & Fiction


July 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm
(1) Bea Jones says:

All I’ve ever said is that she called veterans, mere soldiers, “baby killers” and ridiculed them in public, so that when soldiers – even prisoners of war – came back to the States they were attacked. Hell’s Angels actually would fly on the flights home with them to protect them… and she was an active participant in and supporter of that. She can deny it all she wants now – those of us raised during the war saw her posing on the enemies’ weaponry, heard her foul inciting words, and know her for what she is. She always was an airheaded self-righteous bimbo, and is to this day. Instead of attacking the political leaders, she attacked individuals – which would rather be like someone pounding her face for her performance in “Barbarella”. Yes,it was awful, but she neither wrote it nor directed it. Of course, she wasn’t FORCED to be in it, like the soldiers in Vietnam were.

If the far right fanatics are using exaggeration and outright lies to impugn her, all I can say is, “How does it feel, sunshine? Karma, it is a b***h.”

July 24, 2011 at 11:27 am
(2) Tom Marsh says:

Interesting comment about the Hell’s Angels riding on the planes returning from ‘Nam to protect wounded vets. Where did the information come from?

July 25, 2011 at 8:41 am
(3) lazyeight says:

Why, the Internet, of course!!

July 25, 2011 at 11:10 pm
(4) chris says:

Her comments back in the day were certainly ill informed. She can try to deny it like you say, but they are on record and she has to live with the consequences of her actions and words.

September 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm
(5) Bill North says:

She may have been “bad” back then, but not as bad as that bogus email makes her look.

July 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm
(6) Vaqueiro says:

I’ve never heard Jane Fonda say anything bad about you. Isn’t it time to end the silliness such as Hells Angels flying home with the troops, etc. Now you justify your lies by saying, well “they” (always they) lied too. Sounds like a fourth grade argument. Grow up. She also has apologized for her nuttiness at the time.

July 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm
(7) Steven says:

She apologized? Really? Where and when? You’re very mistaken, Cowboy. That’s been the reason I have never been able to find forgiveness for Jane – her inability to accept responsibility for her dispicable actions.

July 29, 2011 at 8:03 am
(8) Craig says:

I watched Hanoi Jane’s apology on TV. Her comment was “I want to apologize . . .” Well, I want to be rich, which statement will be fulfilled? By stating her wants, she has not apologized. While writing this, I have gained no wealth toward my goal of riches. Her statement indicates a desire or wish for a future event or action. An apology is defined as an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret. Too many Vietnam veterans, me included, believe her apology is worthless. Simply stated, “I apologize for . . .” would have gone a long way toward healing. Now, they are meaningless words.

July 24, 2011 at 11:18 am
(9) Ike F. says:

I was serving in Viet-nam when Jane made her appearance.
If she knew the hate she was about to cause,maybe she would have stayed home. She was lucky she was not touchable by U.S. troops. She would have died many times over.
Jane,you will never live down the terrible taste I have for you.
I truly hope you go to your grave knowing you are hated by thousands if not millions of true Americans.

July 28, 2011 at 11:15 am
(10) Mary S. Houston, TX says:

Millions of us join you, and thank you for your service. America suffered many flower children and fools at that time. But the great majority of us know and realize the sacrifice you made risking your life and losing years with your loved ones then, and a little piece of yourself forever to serve your country. God Bless You and God’s mercy on the Jane Fonda’s of the world who put their grandstanding above American Patriotism and their self importance before our brave military.

July 30, 2011 at 9:13 pm
(11) Pleiku Pioneer says:

Mary, If you wern’t there, don ‘t chime in. This B***h politized the confilict while we bled and and body bagged those friends who would never come home You have never shared the anguish of those of us that served only to come home and be spat upon. Jane was part of these actions and I hope she burns in hell for what she did.

July 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm
(12) Eric Grose says:

I was there in Vietnam,I saw what the “good” people of North Vietnam,did to the people of South Vietnam. Who the hell do you think you are??? Did you have a nice time while you were there?? Did they treat you all right?? Maybe you’d like to go back for another visit?? If you do go,do me a favor? Change your citizenship to Vietnamese and stay there. I for one will not miss you.

July 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm
(13) vaqueiro says:

It is difficult to get a flight to Vietnam because the planes are jampacked with American businessmen doing business with the folks you are talking about. Viet Cong also consisted og South Vietnamese who opposed the totally corruput South Vietnamese government.

July 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm
(14) robert l craft says:

hanoi jane you will always be a dead person to me i will never watch one of your old movies and i will always know you as a trader.

July 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm
(15) Gramma says:

How soon we forget. Hanoi Jane is who she is. She has never publicly apologize that I have seen. Yes, Karma is a B—ch and I wouldn’t want to be her, when it comes around.
We don’t forgive you for your actions Jane, and we certainly haven’t forgotten.
To defend Hanoi Jane is to show how misinformed a person is.
A trader is a trader and will always be. . . . . .

July 28, 2011 at 8:49 am
(16) Robert Sarcione says:

She doesn’t deserve to live in this country those brave soldiers made possible for her undeserving ass. I’m surprised someone hasn’t payed her her due. Ah, maybe yet, someday. Could happen. What a douche’

July 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm
(17) Vaqueiro says:

What sort of American are you? Don’t you think she should be charged with something and maybe have a tria? You sound like one of those commies you hate so much. If you don’t like the way we do things here why don’t you move to Vietnam.

November 4, 2011 at 5:18 am
(18) oscarzpc_98 says:

Who are you to question his citizenship? Remember it is people like him that gave you the right to show us all how stupid and misled you really are. If you tried that S#$T in vietnam, you may just die of metal poisoning. You would disappear with or without your head. And about him going to Vietnam, been there done that. You try it.

September 26, 2011 at 7:30 am
(19) Will Rogers says:

There are a ton of people in the US who don’t deserve to be here. But that is one great thing about our country, it gives lots of people what they don’t deserve.

July 28, 2011 at 9:41 am
(20) Peter says:

Quite right Eric, once read that every night for the duration of the VietNam war, (that would be 10 years at minimum), communist soldiers somewhere would enter a village, at least one village a night and disembowel a village leader or elder alive as an example to the rest. Communism relied on terror to ensure at least tacit support in the provinces. Why else would the boat people flee after their “liberation”?
Jane Fonda is another link in an infamous chain of poor little rich kids and notorious intellectuals who once ignored the Stalin created famine in Ukraine and never saw the gulag when enjoying friendship visits courtesy of nice Uncle Joe. Despite all the evidence even at the time. Now thats pragmatism and red tinted glasses for you.

July 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm
(21) Vaqueiro says:

Those same Stalinist commies were 90% responsible for the defeat of Hitler’s fascism. As I recall they were the major component of the Allied forces and a good allu of the USA. As for your “urban myth” about the commies disemboweling one village leader per night you neglected to add that they then ate the village leader raw. Didn’t Jane Fonda order “village leader au jus” on her visit. You guys really continue to entertain me all of these years later. Get over it. We lost and now we are inundating Vietnam with American businessmen looking to leave China for Vietnam’s even lower wages.

July 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm
(22) Peter says:

I was unaware that VC were cannibals, (I try to deal in facts) but the you should note that the soldiers of USSR who tipped the balance of WW2 were abused by Stalin as well.Shocking stories here. History is always not what it seems. The campaign in VN was a bit of a ballsup, (understatement here), but the intent tens of thousands of US serviceman was honourable. And they did their duty in spite of the cost. This has coloured and justified their views of Fonda.The irony in the situation is US may have lost the war, but western free market won the peace.

July 28, 2011 at 9:56 am
(23) Joseph Trifiletti says:

She will never live down what she started by her trip of ill thought out actions. I too, am over 65, and remember well.

July 28, 2011 at 10:13 am
(24) Don says:

It looks as if some of you have conveniently forgotten that the Vietnam War was a monumental mistake on the part of the U.S. We had no business getting involved in an internal power struggle in that country. It was a civil war between a corrupt regime in the South and a communist dictatorship in the North. The politicians in America caused many thousands of young Americans and innocent civilians in Vietnam to die unnecessarily. This country will forever have blood on its hands for this dishonor. I’m amazed that the Vietnamese are able to have normal relations with America after what we did to them. This is not to blame our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who were doing their duty to serve their country — but the war was a sad episode in American history.

July 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm
(25) Sybil says:

Yes, AND who said “Judge not, so thou shalt not be judged”… When are people gong to stop hating because they fear? As long as we don’t realize hate stems from fear we will be able to be manipulated by war-mongers and people who build arms and then sell them to BOTH sides. PAH!

September 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm
(26) Amanda Gril says:

Yes, it was a sad episode. But our troops didn’t deserve to be railed on by those who were protesting the war, like Jane.

July 28, 2011 at 10:53 am
(27) Carolyn says:

I loved and respected her father for his craft but have never liked her work. Trying to judge what are lies and what is the truth is hard but I have spoken with thousands of Vietnam Vets in my travels and have never heard one that spoke for her so who do I believe? Remembering that many more of our brothers in those days were draftees and not volunteers still does not change the fact that they all say the same thing “we hate her”. Politics aside if it was a studio sponsored trip it was her stupid vanity that took her down that road and she needs to get out of the spotlight and call it a day. Yes the internet has REFUELED the stories but that is the cost of progress. Those that were there know the truth in their hearts and that is all that matters.

July 28, 2011 at 11:27 am
(28) MTM says:

Despite any good intentions about stopping the W in VN so American troops lives could be saved, JF did not use good judgement at the time.

But then again, the concept of supporting the troops while NOT supporting the US Government’s policies was unknown then.

July 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm
(29) Chris Nielsen-Smith says:

Jane stood up for what a lot of us believed in – note the sit-ins and other anti-war demonstrations of the day. “Make love not war.”

July 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm
(30) John Sims says:

Why would anyone expect her to tell the truth? She’s a communist sympathizer, and lies are a legitimate strategy for those of that persuasion. Nothing she says will change her true stripes.

July 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm
(31) Beretverde says:

“I said that the POWs claiming torture were liars, hypocrites, and pawns.” I regret that I was on an anti-aircraft gun smiling and clapping. I regret… blah blah blah… TOO LATE! damage was done. Today’s spin makes me angrier. She made millions and continues to do so over the blood shed and sacrifice made by those who chose to do an honorable thing during for an unhonorable country (yes Bill Clinton, Ali , Billy Crystal etc… for everyone who dodged… one had to take your place!).

July 29, 2011 at 9:51 am
(32) Marita says:

I’m amused and bewildered!! Reading all this from outside the USA. You do know this is July, 2011!!?? Did you hear about the massacre in Oslo last weekend? Do you know there are literally millions of kids starving to death in Somalia right now?? And don’t you have soldiers in Irag?? At least discuss and be angry about things currently happening, maybe even do something to help. Leave history where it belongs.

July 31, 2011 at 9:20 am
(33) S. Martin says:

Jane Fonda had the courage of her convictions considering the entire VN war, was predicated on the falsified Gulf of Tonkin incident! The people who hate Jane Fonda should educate themselves in facts.
May I also point out that in a democracy one always has the option of not agreeing with the government. The U.S. is NOT always in the right. Helloooo people!!!

July 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm
(34) K9 Tom says:

Spoken like a True Communist.

August 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm
(35) Todd says:

No. Spoken like a thinker.

August 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm
(36) A Vet says:

You are correct in saying that in a democracy one has to option of not agreeing with the government. However, one doe NOT have the option of calling for the killing of American soldiers, which she did. I am a Vietnam veteran, I was there. Your so-called education is sorely lacking facts, you should research with an open mind what did, study the photos of her sitting at an anti-aircraft gun, listen to her words. But you won’t, your mind’s already made up. Me? One of my last goals in life is to piss on that traitor’s grave, she wanted me and my fellow Americans to die and I’ll never forgive her for that.

August 1, 2011 at 9:43 am
(37) Gullable says:

My best friend’s, cousin’s, brother’s, nephew’s, father’s, older brother’s father-in-law said he heard this from a guy he knew on the bus comming back from Wasington DC about 35 years ago so it must be true!

August 3, 2011 at 6:09 am
(38) PAJ says:

Whilst reading JF’s account of “The Truth About My Trip to Hanoi” it becomes apparent that Ms Fonda was a breathtakingly naive person.

But we see this trait in a lot of peace activists. They seem blind to the obvious manipulation of their visits and protest by various tyrants and dictators far better versed in the “politics” of their conflicts.

August 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm
(39) Mike says:

I was in the army at the time and felt that her trip was incredibly ill-advised and that she was being played for a fool by the No. VietNamese. That said, I seriously doubt that anything she did or didn’t do had one bit of impact on how our guys were treated. The comment above about NVA and VC coming into villages in the middle of the night ignores the reality of the inhumanity on both sides. (My Lai, anyone?) Neither justifies the other, but when emotions are running high, good people do bad things and bad people get to run amuck.
Jane has paid for her sins in a career that essentially tanked after her visit. (whether or not it would have anyway is open for discussion)
In any event, we’re talking 40 years or more. Let it go… It really didn’t mean anything then and means less now.

August 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm
(40) 3D TV says:

“Let it go… It really didn’t mean anything then and means less now.”

I agree with you Mike.

December 25, 2011 at 11:24 am
(41) Ed says:

We need many different kinds of people in this country. Certainly we need those brave Americans who are willing to defend us by serving in the military. But we also need people with a different kind of bravery, the bravery to stand up to the popular opinion and criticize what this country is doing. Jane Fonda is one of those people. I deplore her criticism of POWS and American soldiers (such as she actually stated, which was a lot less than most current exaggerated accounts). But I am glad she stood up against the war and tried to bring it to an end. This is not treason, this is patriotism.
It’s hard to say whether or not the war protests actually caused the war to end sooner than it would have otherwise. Some claim it had the reverse effect. But I believe the protests did cause us to pull out sooner than we otherwise would have, thus saving many lives on both sides.

December 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm
(42) Joe says:

Little mary jane from Hanoi was before the war, during the war and has always been since the war nothing but a little unamerican b…h.

January 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm
(43) James L. says:

Yeah, I got no use for that unpatriotic cow. Anti war is one thing, Wanting your own people dead is another. Befriending the enemy and breaking bread makes you, the enemy. Forgive her? No, her career tanking is not punishment enough. And to voter her one of the greatest woman of 100 is a slap in the face to all dedicated Americans. If she wants to be useful, cremate her remains and make a urinal with the ashes and install it at a vet’s memorial. That’s my opinion, I could be wrong.

August 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm
(44) steve says:

Why are we trying to seperate the truth from the fiction? There is enough truth in the anti aircraft photo, to say she was anti American and should have been treated then and now as a traitor!!! Why do we need more of the stories to be proven, a picture speaks a 1000 words. Thank You to every man and women who has served this country, so Jane and I have a safe place to live!!!!

August 22, 2013 at 12:07 am
(45) Brandon Lankford says:

If Jane is so sorry for what she did, why then wear a Hanoi Jane T-shirt to promote he last movie? If she is truly sorry, why would you pick a scab? I am disgusted with her and the actions of people like her. Both my father and my uncle served in Viatnam and thank the lord they made it home, and the thought of her sitting on a gun that could have killed them both, really pisses me off. She needs to go away and just realize she is truly hated by many. She is a whore, media whore, Hollywood whore, and a Viet Cong whore!!

October 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm
(46) Mike says:

Read her statement – either accept it or reject it but whatever you decide, it is time to let go of the hate which is reflected here.

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