Last week we heard about the Native actors who walked off the set of Adam Sandler’s Netflix movie Ridiculous Six. Between the horribly offensive character names and the total disregard for tribal accuracy, the whole production sounds like a mess of hateful ignorance. If you remember, some cast members said that the reason they signed on for the film was because they were assured there would be a “cultural consultant” on set to make sure Native Americans were portrayed accurately. Given the long-standing caricaturization of Native Americans in film and TV, this was an important job. Well, now that consultant, Bruce Klinekole, talks about what went wrong. Spoiler: it’s basically everything.
I wasn’t allowed to talk to a producer and they wouldn’t allow me to talk to anybody. They wouldn’t let me do anything. Nothing.
I said, ‘Okay, that’s all, I’m going. I felt bad for my fellow people who were there but there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t say anything on behalf of my Native people or on behalf of my Apache people who were depicted so badly.
We’d already heard about some of the big issues with names and teepees and dress. Apparently the male characters were all dressed in buckskin (which Apache men don’t wear) and wearing their hair in braids (again, not Apache), and the women “were also in buckskin and were wearing boots that looked like they were purchased from the curio shops called The Running Indian.” The words “total disgrace” are used more than once.
But then Klinekole makes it clear that the people in charge of this film— which includes Adam Sandler and the Netflix name— not only had a general disregard for the cultural aspects of their cast, but for their general lives and safety.
During the filming of some scenes, extras were told to aim arrows with razor-sharp steel tips arrows at actor Danny Trejo and his band of vaqueros.
Klinekole, a Senior Olympics State Champion in the Bare Bow event, said that the actors who were pinching the arrows could have accidentally let go of the arrows and injured or killed an actor.
“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.
Someone needs to shut this production down immediately.
Via Indian Country.
UPDATE: Courtney just brought to my attention the fact this movie just continues to get further sucked into its own vortex of WTFery every minute. From 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.”
And here’s a video of a producer telling the cast that if they’re not onboard with the skin-darkening makeup, misogynistic character names, and general disregard to their safety, they can GTFO.