Jane Fonda’s appearance on QVC cancelled due to her opposition to the Vietnam War.

by on July 19, 2011 · 18 comments

in American Empire, Media, Popular, War and Peace

Jane Fonda, Feb. 28, 2011.

By Carolyn Kellogg / The LA Times / July 18, 2011

Jane Fonda writes that a planned Saturday appearance on QVC was canceled by the shopping network after viewers complained, citing Fonda’s political statements during the Vietnam War. Fonda was scheduled to promote her aging-with-spirit book “Prime Time: Making the Most of Your Life,” due out Aug. 9.

On her website, Fonda writes :

 The network said they got a lot of calls yesterday criticizing me for my opposition to the Vietnam War and threatening to boycott the show if I was allowed to appear. I am, to say the least, deeply disappointed that QVC caved to this kind of insane pressure by some well funded and organized political extremist groups.

And that they did it without talking to me first. I have never shied away from talking about this as I have nothing to hide. I could have pointed out that threats of boycotts are nothing new for me and have never prevented me from having best selling books and exercise DVDs, films, and a Broadway play.

Most people don’t buy into the far right lies. Many people have reached out to express how excited they were about my going onto QVC and hearing about my book.

 QVC has confirmed it canceled Fonda’s appearance but declined to say why or respond to her criticism of the action.

Fonda does herself a disservice by immediately blaming “well-funded and organized political extremist groups” — she doesn’t know where the calls came from, and was surprised by the cancellation.

But QVC has done itself a disservice by not allowing Fonda to appear. As she writes, she does not shy away from talking about her political convictions, actions and even regrets — they came up, without any rancor, during her talk at the closing session at Book Expo America in May, publishing’s biggest conference.

At that talk, Fonda spoke with enthusiasm about her book “Prime Time,” a kind of how-to guide for living the last act of life fully, on its own terms. One key tool is conducting what Fonda calls a “life review,” creating new goals and dreams. On the one hand, Fonda, now 73, occasionally loses her train of thought; on the other, she’s full of vigor and is entirely candid. When asked how she looks so good, Fonda replied, “Good genes — and a lot of money.”

Would QVC watchers really not be able to make up their own minds about Jane Fonda, nearly 40 years after her visit to North Vietnam?

Fonda’s last book, “My Life So Far,” was a bestseller. We’ll see later this summer if “Prime Time” finds its audience.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken July 19, 2011 at 8:41 am

Anyone remember Phil Donahue? I learned a lot watching his chat show…they don’t do television like that any more – it taught you something about the world. Between 1967 and 1972, Donahue was taped in Dayton, OH. That is 40 years ago. On one of those shows, Jane Fonda was a guest on this show. I saw a rerun of this show with in the last 10 years. Ms. Fonda acknowledged and apologized for sitting on the AAA gun that belonged to the North Vietnamese in the infamous piece of film that infuriates her haters in great detail – over-and-over. The interview was taped a matter of months after Ms. Fonda’s visit to North Vietnam.

I’d like to see QVC run that interview for an hour in place of her pitching something.


john July 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Good point, that would surely temper a lot of her detractors. That incident was really a symbol of the criticism for her, it isn’t so much that she opposed the war-millions did and there was good reason to, an undeclared war with murky beginnings and unclear goals, and we’re drafting kids to be sent there against their will. Wanting to stop a long train wreck in progress is respectable. However cavorting with the enemy was a step too far, almost like bringing a cheering section to that train wreck and hoping it goes up in a big fireball.
I’m sure when she first thought of it it probably sounded good. By meeting the enemy and showing they are human, it’s a lot harder to carry on slaughtering them.
I’ve heard one of her apologies and it sounded as if she was sorry because of the PR fallout and what it did to her career-it would be a bit more sincere if she recognized what she did was used by captors of our POWs to abuse them, though maybe she has and it wasn’t mentioned in the clip I saw years ago.
Phil Donahue was a class act BTW. Never afraid of taking on the controversial issues.
He’s no Jerry Springer though, he never had on a hillbilly transgendered artist who cut his own legs off with a circular saw. (each 2 months apart, no less) LOL.


Ernie McCray July 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

Hanoi Jane
Harboring such bad personal feelings
Towards the woman
For so long
Is kind of insane
Now she’s 73
And we might all learn something
Based on her achievements
Her history
I know
As I too
Am 73
Shame on QVC


Frank Gormlie July 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Jane Fonda cared about what was going on, unlike some in Hollywood who sat on their expensive lounge chairs during the Vietnam war era, she cared about what was happening over there to the Vietnamese and was concerned that our country was being torn apart by the war.

She actively spoke out against it, intentionally using her fame and idol stature to bring attention to the injustices our government was engaged in – in Southeast Asia.

Jane Fonda was also active in this country attempting to develop a movement for economic justice in the 1970’s.

Not only should QVC be embarrassed, perhaps we should boycott the channel until it apologizes to Fonda.


Goatskull July 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I think John did bring up a good point about her approach to it. Also from what I’v heard or read it DID cause more suffering for the POWs there, and THAT’S why so many people are angry at her, not simply because she was against the war. So was at least half the country if not most. It showed a total lack of concern for our own people who were actually fighting there and imprisoned there. Is that how she really felt? I don’t know but that’s how many took it. And yes she has apologized since but many don’t feel it’s sincere, right or wrong. As a vet myself (though never in any combat situation) I can understand their animosity.

On an unrelated note, I missed you guys Friday and hope we can do something like that again in the near future even if nothing more than an OB happy hour. Also I hope my not being there didn’t spoil the plans. I really was looking forward to putting faces with the names but elderly mom issues (moving) came up. As to this weekend I’ll be out of town.


The (Now) Bearded OBecian July 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Sitting on the anti-aircraft weapon was one thing that she may have regrets about because she naively thought that she wouldn’t be used for propaganda by the communist government. However, she volunteered to have her own Tokyo Rose moment, what was it, 10 times, recording propaganda for the NVA?

What I don’t think she ever apologized for, and what a great number of soldiers refuse to forgive her for, was her claim that POW’s were lying about being tortured, in fact stating that they were treated well, which we know is not the case.

So while a great number of patriotic Americans were opposed to the war, not everyone in the anti-war movement sided with the NVA and turned their backs on our POW’s, while allowing themselves to be used for propaganda.


Frank Gormlie July 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm

For people to have ANY animosity toward Jane Fonda now because of her stance nearly 40 years ago – and for them not to have any towards the politicians the ‘best of the brightest’ who got us into the wars and kept us there – is simply beyond understanding. Jane Fonda has done more to try to improve t his country and the world than any of these nay-sayers who called the channel up and threatened to boycott. None of the last several commenters have addressed this point at all. In fact, the most recent ones have pretty much apologized for those who still have animosity towards her – ‘oh, I can understand them…’ That is BULL SHIT! It’s bullshit following the initial bullshit.

The original OB Rag supported the Vietnamese – I supported the Vietnamese (the division of their country between north and south was an artificial border) – and your government and the corporations it protects are doing busy with Vietnam right now.

What is going on is a kind of resentment that Americans were killed, maimed and imprisoned over there at all. And all for an illegal, improper, war that we lost. We and the southern government didn’t have POW’s? And how were they treated? Hmmm. So, this resentment is bubbling up – ‘was it all for not?’ is being taken out on Fonda – and not your own politicians and your own complicity.

If you don’t understand why and how the war was wrong, then you’re not doing your homework, and you won’t understand how much we have to still save our country from the military-industrial-corporate complex.


Goatskull July 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Well I never said I was going to boycott QVC. I don’t “boycott” Jane Fonda either and think 40 years later that’s a bit extreme. Still, I do understand the point of view of those who feel different from me, especially vets who were there (Viet Nam itself, not necessarily the Hanoi Hilton.


Frank Gormlie July 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Sure, understanding other views is important.


Goatskull July 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Thank you.


Goatskull July 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Also I DO have animosity towards those who got us there in the first place and kept us there, as well as those who got us in the two wars we’re in now.


Goatskull July 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Ultimately, the people who should be blamed are the powers that be who sent our troops out there, not the troops themselves.


Frank Gormlie July 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

Here here! (as the Brits would say.)


The Bearded Obcian July 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Maybe qvc could have applied a different tact toward Jane Fonda, ie letting her on the airwaves to hawk her book, but the reality is that, yes, even 40 years later, people still have raw emotions regarding her. Qvc’s decision is fairly narrow-minded, but that’s what happens these days in all walks of life.

As for supporting the nva, did that include their imprisoning 1 million in “re-education” camps and torturing and murdering nearly 200,000 for supporting the south? So yes, emotions remain raw on all sides, especially for those who have family who never made it home.


tj July 20, 2011 at 7:57 am

Why do knee-jerks get us in these messes – then cry about our involvement? Vietnam was most significantly advanced primarly by liberal Presidents JFK & LBJ!

Ike warned about the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex. Idealistic, inmature, & ignorant Kennedy attacked him for it.

While many of us we’re in agreement with Ms. Fonda’s opposition to USA Imperialism in Vietnam (& elsewhere) – her approach of pandering to the VC was just so wrong.


mr.rick July 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

I want take this time to nominate tj for the position of “Token Right Wing Nut” Maybe he’s not really qualified, but he seems to espouse the views of this crowd more often than any of our other contributors. Is there a second?


tj July 20, 2011 at 10:42 am

Mr Rick,

You are so very clueless, my partisan friend.

You can’t stand to hear the truth, so you ignore the FACTS – & resort to incorrect labeling, & petty name calling.

Congratulations – that approach is the essence of Propaganda.

In your mind – anyone not representing illogical, hypocritical, left wingnut, dumb-o-crat positions is “right wing” &/or Republican,” in your limited view of the world?

I’d bet – that you have far more in common with the self-serving, greedy right then I do.

Wake up, it’s not to late.

There is life beyond the status quo of – if not my “left,” must be their “right.”

Get beyond blind liberalism.



Ernie McCray July 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

I understand people’s anger 40 years ago, but over time Jane Fonda has shown that she’s an upstanding human being (and she was then, too), not to mention extremely talented actor (and she was then, too), and caring American citizen (and she was then, too) – so how does one remain angry for so long? Her apology wasn’t seen as sincere? What the hell is that all about? What more do people want, a lap dance? My goodness, she’s contributed to society in so many ways. The Campaign for Economic Democracy that she and Tom Hayden created was a wonderful organization for creating a better society – right here in California. That got some people started in being involved and has kept so many going all these years as far as contributing to their world is concerned.
Jane is a learner, a lover, a person who cares and that’s what dictated her actions a while back. She’s come a long way from that. Those who hate her are caught up in a time warp of some kind. It’s amazing how people can cut Bush some slack for sending our teenagers off to fight illegal wars just a few years ago and can’t forgive Jane for her actions decades ago. What she fought against is still going on today in a big way: WAR! Now, that’s something to be mad about.


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