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Why Native American Actors Walked Off Adam Sandler’s Movie Set

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So, I dunno if I’m the only one who knows this but, it’s 2015, guys. Every now and again I wonder if I’m the only person who is fully cognizant of the year, because things that shouldn’t be happening in this day and age are still happening. Things that make me want to scream into my hands and throw my office chair out the window onto the unsuspected New York metropolis. This is one of those things.

Quintessential funny man and proud Jew Adam Sandler is making headlines today because a group of Native American actors and advisors walked off the set of his new film: “The Ridiculous Six”. Why? Because the script–which is apparently meant to satirize old Westerns–is so offensive to Native Americans it defeats its own purpose.

Among the unfunny, childish jokes are Native American names such as “No Bra,” and “Beaver’s Breath”; and vulgar depictions of Native American lifestyle and culture. Worse still is that, when the actors brought their concerns to the producers of the film, saying the jokes were way too offensive, they were reportedly told: “‘If you guys are so sensitive, you should leave.”

So they did. And good for them, because why be complicit in your own degradation? Knowing Hollywood, it’s going to happen anyway–but they don’t need to be a part of it, and I’m really proud of these actors for recognizing that.

As for Adam Sandler, I’m less than proud of him. As someone who comes from a group that has been consistently targeted throughout history for their ethnicity, he should know better than to marginalize other groups. (Not to mention some people think Native Americans came from one of the lost tribes of Israel.) It is possible that this is his misguided attempt in actually drawing attention to how we treat Native Americans in the U.S.–and comedy can be a very powerful way to make points about how we treat each other–but if the group you’re trying to help is the very group you’re offending, you’re doing it wrong.

Let’s hope this frankly humiliating situation becomes a teachable moment for Sandler, and he reworks his script for the better.

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