Vets Up in Arms Over Hanoi Jane as UCLA Commencement Speaker
Monday, June 2, 2014 04:39 PM
By: Lisa Degnen
Veterans are fuming over the choice of Jane Fonda as the keynote speaker at the UCLA graduation ceremony later this month.
According to a Fox News report, California's Vietnam vets are the most up in arms. "We hate her," Nick Callas, president of the Santa Clarita chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, told FoxNews.com. "We won't ever see any of her movies or support anything she did. It makes me sick to see her get this kind of recognition."
In 1972, the actress visited Hanoi, Vietnam, and famously called American soldiers "war criminals" after meeting with enemy troops. Callas told Fox it was something soldiers will never forgive nor let Fonda forget.
Fonda did give something of an apology for her actions by telling Oprah Winfrey in 2013 that visiting a North Vietnamese military site during the trip was an "unforgivable mistake."
"I don't know if I was set up or not," she said, explaining that she was taken to the sight at the end of an exhaustive journey. "I was an adult. I take responsibility for my actions."
But former Air Force medic Callas told Fox that the actress only apologized to save her own image. "People lost their lives because of her, and none of us will ever forget that," he told the network.
He has set up a Facebook page with the title "Vets Boycotting Hanoi Jane Fonda" and has received hundreds of "likes" so far.
"She was young and stupid, but that's no excuse," Santa Rosa vet John Crooker told Fox. "I don't know of any Vietnam veterans who have anything good to say about her."
The Oscar winner was chosen by the UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television to give the commencement speech on June 13.
"We are truly honored to have Jane Fonda speak at this year's commencement ceremony," Dean Teri Schwartz told Fox. "Jane is a visionary and a remarkable artist who has spent her life telling deeply powerful stories that have moved and inspired audiences worldwide to action for the greater good and to a greater understanding of our common humanity through her films, philanthropic efforts, and personal journeys."
Breitbart.com says she will share the stage with Distinguished Alumnus honoree Darren Star, who is famous for creating TV's "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose Place."