Loren Anthony on set of “Ridiculous Six” – Photo from Instagram – Loren Anthony
“It’s not comedy when someone else is not laughing”
–Loren Anthony (Navajo) – Actor
“Movies like ‘Blazing Saddles’ would not fly today,” commented Loren Anthony (Navajo), who was one of the American Indian actors to walk off the set of Adam Sandler’s “Ridiculous Six” movie this past week in New Mexico.
“Ridiculous Six” is Sandler’s first production for a multi-move deal he signed with movie-giant Netflix. “Ridiculous Six” is a satire to the 1960 “The Magnificent Seven” Hollywood-western.
Anthony talked with Native News Online on Saturday evening about why he and other American Indians walked off the set.
Anthony, who was hired as an extra for “Ridiculous Six,” said he began to notice things right away upon arrival on the set last Monday that did not seem right.
“At first I was glad to be part of the movie because it is about Apaches, who are like cousins to us (Navajo), but then I noticed things were not right about how Apaches were depicted. For one thing, the costumes we were given to wear were more like what Plains Indians wear, not Apache. Then the way feathers were desecrated on the set made me sick to the stomach literally. I was brought up by my elders to respect feathers. The movie crew paid no respect to the feathers.”
“It was not straight walk off the set. We tried to talk to producers and directors with no results. We were told it would cost too much money to change things now,” Anthony stated.
Extras in movies don’t get movie scripts prior to production; therefore, the American Indians who were hired as extras did not see the script narrative until they arrived on the New Mexico set.
So after the Native actors began to examine the script narrative, they noticed just how disgusting the jokes about American Indians were – especially about Native women.
“For me, I was hurt,” said Anthony, who has been in some eight movies prior, including Robert Redford’s “Drunkstown’s Finest” and “The Lone Ranger.”
“When I saw the negative references to Apache women, I knew I did not want to be part of this,” stated Anthony. “I was offended by the sexual connotation of names, such as Beaver Breath and Wears No Bra.
Producers and directors defend the script by saying the movie is a comedy and don’t understand why the American Indian actors are upset or are just being too sensitive.
“Comedy should be used when both sides think it is funny. It’s not comedy when someone else is not laughing. I am also a comedian, so I love to laugh and make people laugh, but when it become hurtful is where I draw the line,” said Anthony.
Netflix’s spin doctors released the following statement defending “Ridiculous Six” on Thursday:
“The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous. It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of — but in on — the joke.”
As for Adam Sandler, he has yet to comment about the American Indian actors who walked off his set.