Native Actors Walk Off Adam Sandler Movie Set After Seeing Ridiculously Offensive Script

An Adam Sandler movie currently in production received a setback this week when around a dozen Native American actors and actresses walked off the set in protest of the way the film was portraying Native culture.

The film, titled The Ridiculous Six, is said to be a satirical western in the vein of The Magnificent Seven – only apparently featuring lots and lots of jokes at the expense of Native Americans. Speaking with Indian Country Today, actors say they grew increasingly appalled by what they found in the script and frustrated by the production team’s lack of respect for their concerns.

Love him or hate him, no one could argue Adam Sandler’s films have the the virtue of maturity, but he may have hit a new low in this film. According to Indian Country Today:

The examples of disrespect included Native women’s names such as Beaver’s Breath and No Bra, an actress portraying an Apache woman squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe, and feathers inappropriately positioned on a teepee.

“No Bra” and “Beaver’s Breath”? Really?

Even worse, the production team appears to have misled the actors about what the film was going to do in an effort to get them to agree to be in it. As you might expect, many of the Native actors were extremely skeptical about the project when they first heard about it, with some even initially passing on the opportunity because of their concerns – no small feat for a struggling actor in Hollywood. However, Sandler’s team promised the film would be tasteful and even vowed to have a “Native cultural adviser” on set at all times to ensure appropriateness.

He was one of the dozen that walked out.

According to actor Loren Anthony, the production team had a policy of dismissing concerns on the basis that this was a comedy and the hired actors should just lighten up:

“We were supposed to be Apache, but it was really stereotypical and we did not look Apache at all. We looked more like Comanche. One thing that really offended a lot of people was that there was a female character called Beaver’s Breath. One character says ‘Hey, Beaver’s Breath.’ And the Native woman says, ‘How did you know my name?'”

“They just treated us as if we should just be on the side. When we did speak with the main director, he was trying to say the disrespect was not intentional and this was a comedy.”

It’s unclear how the production will proceed now that it has lost a dozen of its actors. The team has already reportedly called the consultant in for a meeting so it’s possible that this served as long overdue wake up call for Sandler and company. It’s also possible that they still don’t “get it.” One actor recounted his experiences as similar to that of Dan Snyder’s ludicrous defense of the “Redskins” football team name: The insults, the jokes, the cheap shots are a form of “honoring” the Native culture.

“They were being disrespectful. They were bringing up those same old arguments that Dan Snyder uses in defending the Redskins. But let me tell you, our dignity is not for sale. It is a real shame because a lot of people probably stay because they need a job.”

Sadly, this isn’t a novel experience for Native Americans. Their culture has a long history of being stereotyped and abused on film – beginning, arguably, with the advent of the Western genre. A film purportedly meant to “satirize” Westerns, then, could have an excellent opportunity to target the ridiculously racist legacy of those films. Instead, it appears to be slipping into the very same cultural insensitivity.

Feature image via Anthony Loren/Instagram