Well this project is going well.
Last week, a dozen Native American actors and cultural advisor Bruce Klinekole all walked off the set of Adam Sandler’s new project The Ridiculous Six because they found the content offensive. According to the Indian Country Today Media Network, the script was offensive toward women and elders, referring to two women as “Beaver’s Breath” and “No Bra,” as well as a scene where an Apache woman smokes a pipe while squatting and urinating. Netflix, the project’s distributor, issued a “sorry not sorry” statement:
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.
Well, today, news comes that this “diverse cast” is actually having their skin darkened to appear more Native American. No, really. Per The Hollywood Reporter:
According to an on-set pro, members of the makeup team have been darkening actors of various ethnicities (including black and Asian talent) to make them appear Native American.
One of the actors, Allison Young, confirmed to MSNBC that makeup was used on talent. “I’m full-blooded Navajo and they bronzed me. I was quite confused,” Young told the network. “That says something when the cultural advisor for the film quits because he’s offended.”
If that weren’t enough, Klinekole spoke to the Indian Country Today Media Network about the other reasons he decided to walk away. Basically the whole thing was greatly culturally insensitive and dangerous.
Klinekole was caught off guard by the amount of Native American stereotypes that littered the production, most of them culturally inaccurate. He was deeply affected by the misuse and misrepresentation of the tipi, which is sacred to his culture, and the inaccurate costume choices:
Males were dressed in buckskin, which is not Apache at all. They were fixing up their hair into braids and Apache do not wear their hair in braids—It is straight and we wear our hair in a hat or with a headband. Some of the men were wearing feathers and Apaches do not wear feathers at all.
The ladies were also in buckskin and were wearing boots that looked like they were purchased from the curio shops called “The Running Indian.” They were wearing chokers. I was kind of overwhelmed, and I said, ’What is going on here?”
The crew also disregarded the safety of the actors, according to Klinekole. Rather than using fake weapons as most movies do, the actors were using real bows and arrows complete with razor-sharp tips.
“I examined them and discovered one of the extras had a 60 pound hunting bow, and his arrow was a steel razor blade tip,” Klinekole said. “He was pointing it at Danny and his vaqueros—if he would have slipped, he could have hurt someone or shot them dead with that arrow. Nobody was there to examine that stuff. The guy also told me he was shaking because he had to hold it ’for about five minutes’—how can you hold a bow for five minutes? It was a 60 pound bow!”
“I have been in six movies—normally with every set those arrows and everything else is rubber, even the bows,” Klinekole continued. “The arrows and arrowheads are fake. The knives and guns are fake—that is the way it is supposed to be. That same day the director [Frank Corachi] called me over, he said ’Hey Bruce, before Danny and his Vaqueros come over we want you to scream something in Apache to warn the villagers.’ I said ’Are you going to pay me for this?’ He said, ‘No, no—just yell something, can you yell?'”
Also, Klinekole has not yet received any pay for his work. This project could only be going more smoothly if it featured Sandler killing Kim Jong-un.