On Wednesday night, 80-year-old actress Jane Fonda was asked by talk show host Stephen Colbert about her controversial activism during the Vietnam War. Mediate.com reported the story.
Back in 1972, she visited the capital of Hanoi and was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun which had been used to kill American soldiers. The backlash was immediate, spawning decades of outrage from her critics and nicknaming the actress “Hanoi Jane.”
During her appearance on The Late Show, Colbert took a moment to address that time in her life.
“Have what we’ve learned about that war in the decades since changed your attitude toward that war or changed your attitude about what you did at the time?” Colbert asked.
“No, I have… from the moment that I did the bad thing I did, which was I sat on an anti-aircraft gun in North Vietnam,” Fonda replied. “I wasn’t even thinking what I was doing and photographs were taken and that image went out and the image makes it look like I was against our soldiers, which was never the case. I had been working with soldiers prior to that and for years after that. It’s why I made the movie Coming Home. But that image is there and I will go to my grave regretting that. I knew right away that that was wrong.”
She added that she doesn’t regret going to Vietnam since she learned a lot while there.
Fonda’s activism actually began several years before the “Hanoi Jane” photo was published. She spoke out in favor of the Black Panthers and marched for the rights of American Indians, soldiers, and working mothers, in addition to becoming a voice for the antiwar movement.
The 46-year-old photo continues to haunt Fonda. NBC’s Megyn Kelly referred to the “Hanoi Jane” image recently, in regard to her feud with Fonda after the actress criticized the daytime talk show host. The trouble began last year when Kelly attempted to ask Fonda about her plastic surgery, making the actress visibly annoyed. Kelly responded later in a statement reported by CNN.
There is also a mugshot of Fonda, from her 1970 arrest, which remains iconic to this day.
Well I sure never did expect to see my mugshot on Times Square!!! pic.twitter.com/itWCWg1W2g
— Jane Seymour Fonda (@Janefonda) September 6, 2018
When she was traveling from Canada to Cleveland, customs officers wrongly accused Fonda of drug smuggling after finding vitamins in her bag. The resulting mugshot went viral.
The Grace and Frankie star is in the spotlight now because HBO has a new documentary coming on September 24 about her life, and she recently discussed the impact of her mother’s suicide with PEOPLE.