conversation. The decade-old digital networking phenomenon of Facebook, Twitter, and the
hundreds of various other up-and-coming applications has united communities and
Social media has also reincarnated journalism. The Internet has enabled multi-way
communication. The information release that was once dictated by the authority of
professional news outlets can now unravel through user-generated blogs, tweets, and
videos. However, beyond the reincarnation of the story lies the reincarnation of the
interview. The opportunity for users to comment on every online post creates an
“unconscious interview” that allows the capture and study of beliefs, opinions, and
An investigation into the lingering irrational rage towards actress and political activist,
Jane Fonda, demonstrates how unconscious interviews pave a path to an explanation.
the Internet, spend an average of nine hours on social media per day (Lin 200).
Because social media communication is often as frequent as casual, in-person
conversation, users typically carry their online behavior with the same nonchalance.
When an individual is being interviewed with the traditional method of question and
answer, they monitor and censure their demeanor and responses because they are
aware that their feedback is being documented.
recording. Facebook’s legal terms state, “When you publish content or information
using the ‘Public’ setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people
off of Facebook, to access and use that information (Statement of Rights and
Responsibilities).” User blogs, tweets, statuses, and the unconscious interviews
attached can be printed, copy-pasted, screen shot, and distributed easily, freely, and
legally. But because social media activity is avidly frequent in their daily lives, users
often forget the digital scars they are capable of creating. A Facebook post of a Jane
Fonda photo on November 13th, 2011, followed by the comment, “Jane Fonda is a
cunt whore (Nelson),” provides a glimpse into the raw emotions and scathing
honesty that fuel unconscious interviews.
when the Barbarella bombshell started participating in anti-Vietnam War activism.
In her autobiography, My Life So Far, Fonda claims to have felt moral motivation to
use her fame towards promoting peace. She began touring college campuses to speak
on GI rights and issues in the late 1960s. She joined fellow actors, Fred Gardner and
Donald Sutherland to create Free the Army, an anti-war road show performed
outside of United States military bases.
film set. Animosity escalated to her place on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s
Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) surveillance list. COINTELPRO was a
series of projects that aimed to discredit and disrupt political organizations involved
in progressive causes such as the Civil Rights Movement and Anti-Vietnam War
demonstrations (Fonda 254-256). The FBI and the CIA eventually complied a
20-thousand-page file on Fonda and distributed her 1970 phone call records to
President Richard M. Nixon (Fonda 256). In My Life So Far, Fonda hints suspicion
of COINTELPRO playing a role in her Cleveland Airport arrest for drug smuggling,
which led to her notorious mug shot with her fist clenched and arm raised in a
“Power to the People” salute.
Charges were dropped when authorities realized that Fonda was smuggling vitamins
and not illegal narcotics (Fonda 261-262). But it was Fonda’s July of 1972 trip to
Hanoi, Vietnam that dubbed her an unpatriotic “Hanoi Jane” stigma to a legion of
|Hanoi Jane toilet paper|
Four decades of Hanoi Jane urinal target stickers, “Kill Jane Fonda” eye patches
(Hanoi Jane/ Veteran Stickers), and mobs of furious protestors holding signs with
messages like “Traitor Commie Bitch” (Drue-AFCL) at Fonda’s film openings stem
from three main junctures in Hanoi: Fonda’s broadcasts over Radio Hanoi airwaves,
her visit with American prisoners of war (POW), and incriminating photographs of
Fonda sitting in a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun site (Fonda 318-325).
and civilian attacks troops were inflicting on the Vietnamese categorized America’s
political and military leaders as war criminals. She urged American pilots to think
about their actions before following orders (Fonda 324). Fonda met 7 American
POWs: Edison Miller, Walter Wilber, James Padgett, Kenneth James Fraser,
William G. Byrns, Edward Elias, and David Wesley Hoffman. The POWs were driven
from their camp, the Zoo, in a bus with blacked out windows to the headquarters of
the army film studio. All 7 had previously signed an antiwar letter (Fonda 314),
including Lieutenant Commander David Hoffman, who appeared 6 times at meetings
with anti war visitors in 1973(Fonda 326). After returning to the United States in
February of 1973, Hoffman claimed that his meeting with Fonda and former
Attorney General, Ramsey Clark shortly afterwards had caused him to be tortured.
However, Hoffman’s prison roommate, Norris Charles claimed that he never saw or
heard of any torture in his camp. In the spring of 1973, Wilber told the Los Angeles
Times that Fonda “could see that we were healthy and had not been tortured.”
Fonda also called the POWs that claimed torture liars, hypocrites, and pawns,
saying, “I’m quite sure that there were incidents of torture. But the pilots who are
saying it was the policy of the Vietnamese and that it was systematic, I believe that’s
all a lie (Fonda 327).”
Like any image, the photographic evidence of Fonda laughing among Vietnamese
soldiers is subject to the interpretation of every individual viewer.
her father, Henry Fonda, an already renowned actor, enlisted into World War II.
She speaks of meeting American servicemen while living in France, claiming that
their trauma and embitterment towards the Vietnam War inspired her activism and
return to the United States. She says that she devoted 2 years to traveling to
military bases, interacting with service members in GI coffee houses, discussing the
emotional and mental detriments of military training with Army psychiatrists, and
fundraising for legal and congressional help for soldiers being denied rights under
the Uniform Code of Military Justice before touching Hanoi grounds.
On her official website, Fonda addresses her research on military law, the
corruption and lies she believed were being told by the government about the war,
and her anguish from those who returned from the Vietnam battlegrounds
disheveled and traumatized (Fonda). Her autobiography unveils her interviews with
doctors who informed her of the increasing potency in America’s weapons upon
Nixon’s presidency. They described pellets that were permanently lodged and
expanding inside of bodies as well as infant deformations emerging after America’s
Agent Orange showers over Vietnam rainforests (Fonda 300-303).
She describes the warm welcoming from Vietnamese
citizens, the United States government’s proclaimed enemy,
who embraced Americans, while claiming that only its political leaders were villains.
She writes of her encounter with a young Vietnamese girl who helped her find cover
from American bombs (Fonda 311-312). In her autobiographies, website, and
interviews, she explains her gun site photo as a result of being exhausted and an
emotional wreck from her trip. She describes language barriers, being asked to sing
a song with the Vietnamese soldiers, and being led to sit on an antiaircraft gun.
Fonda still believes she was framed. She has made a series of public apologies from
the 1980s until present day and has taken responsibility for embarking on her
journey to Hanoi without the guidance of somebody more politically experienced.
Fonda has repeatedly regarded that photo as one of her greatest regrets (Fonda).
The Hanoi Jane rumors arose about seven months after her return from Vietnam
once the war was over and the POWs were home. According to Fonda, the White
House selected a group of the top ranking POWs to go on a media circuit, with
President Nixon specifically ordering Chief of Staff H.R. Halderman to have the
POWs use “the worst quotes” from Fonda they could find (Fonda). Fonda was
initially rumored to be an unpatriotic traitor who provided aid and comfort to the
enemy while openly vilifying American troops. Over the decades, inculpating Fonda
hearsay has flourished. The most popular rumor is that while meeting with the
POWs in Hanoi, Fonda took a tiny piece of paper from each of them that contained
their social security number. She then turned them into their Vietnamese captors,
which led to their torture. Variations of the story have since been recycled and
redistributed on the Internet. Some versions claim that the POWs had given Fonda
letters for their families. Others state that the POWs were forced to meet with her.
The most gruesome tale is that her visit and betrayal led to the execution the POWs.
The fiction flourished within The Digital Revolution. In 1999, an email went viral in
protest of Fonda being honored by Barbara Walters in the ABC special, A
Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women. The email included testimonials,
quotations, and precise details of the “paper strip” rumor naming specific names and
military ranks of victims and witnesses. The message still continues to reappear in
blogs and social media posts (Mikkelson).
Every veteran named in the email has
denied the stories and claims to have never met Fonda. Former POW, Captain Mike
McGrath, president of the POW-NAM Organization has declared the story an
knows who initiated this story. I have spoken with all the parties named. They all
state that this particular story is a hoax and wish to disassociate their names from the
false story. They never made the statements attributed to them. (Fonda)
thrives. As of December of 2013, there are approximately eleven Facebook pages
targeted for virtual communities connected by a shared Jane Fonda repugnance.
The most popular, Vets Boycotting Hanoi Jane has almost forty thousand Facebook
fans, about half of the fans of Jane Fonda’s official Facebook page.
Nearly fifty anti-Jane Fonda videos are posted on YouTube along with dozens of
websites, blogs, and “Hanoi Jane Traitor” gifts and merchandise from sweatshirts to
Most of the claims made on the websites are regurgitation and frequent direct quotes
from the “Internet hoax” email.
User posts as well as the unconscious interviews that follow unveil shameless
odium and in some cases, a threatening wrath.
The following are examples of statements from users that are publicly posted on
anti-Jane Fonda social media:
- Hang the traitor whore (Horton).
- Bitch, burn in hell, you Asian whore (Lewis)!
- When she dies, we should go to her wake, have a bottle of urine in our pocket, kneel at the casket, dump some on our fingers and flick it out onto her face as we leave (Jacob)!
- I wish somebody would take that TRAITOR WHORE and torture her until she wants to die and then have her tortured even more. DIE HANOI JANE. DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH AND HOPEFULLY YOUR FAMILY GETS IT TOO [sic] (Keene).
- Someone should shove a 12mm rocket up her ass and set it off [sic] (Gootz)!
There are several plausible explanations as to why, out of the nearly three hundred
American journalists, diplomats, peace activists, professors, religious leaders, and Vietnam
War veterans themselves who visited POWs and enemy soldiers in Hanoi, Jane Fonda
carries the bulk of veterans’ Vietnam War embitterment. When trying to comprehend the
mentality of those who hold rancor towards Fonda, one must begin with the assumption
that they genuinely believe the most extreme of the rumors behind her alleged treason. The
most sensational of the Hanoi Jane tales are that her visit with them led to the torture and
ultimate death of the seven POWs she met, voiced unpatriotic propaganda over Radio
Hanoi airwaves, laughed and carried on with enemy soldiers, and called all American
soldiers “liars” and “baby killers (Lembcke 2-3).”
- She was already established as a public figure before her anti-Vietnam War activism and Hanoi trip.
- She was accused of voicing propaganda over Radio Hanoi.
- She visited American POWs and then claimed that they were healthy and humanely treated.
- She posed in compromising photos with Vietnamese soldiers.
- She accused military members of being war criminals.
- Her actions caused deaths.
- She is a celebrity.
- She is a famous liberal celebrity playing a famous conservative first lady in 2013 film, Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
- She is a female.
- She was an established female sex symbol at the dawn of her controversy.
harsher backlash than the typical political activist because she was an established
public figure before her Vietnam War involvement. Any behavior she conducted in,
especially in controversial nature, posed risk for scandal. However, Fonda was one
of several public faces that traveled to Hanoi. An example is Ramsey Clark, who
served as United States Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson from
1967 to 1969.
Clark visited North Vietnam in 1972, just a few weeks after Fonda’s departure,
to protest the bombing of Hanoi. Like Fonda, Clark’s denunciations of the Vietnam
War were broadcasted over Radio Hanoi. Also parallel to Fonda, Clark visited with
United States POWs in Hanoi and claimed that they were humanely treated,
“un-brainwashed,” and “healthy.” Time magazine featured several articles on Clark’s
criticism of the Vietnam War and United States bombing raids. Time also ran
several photographs of Clark in North Vietnam, including one with him surrounded
by several smiling North Vietnamese soldiers, similar to the photographs that still
fuel spite towards Fonda (Lembcke 16).
|Ramsey Clark in Hanoi, 1973|
|Clark visiting POWs|
Despite the controversy in Clark joining Saddam Hussein’s defense team in 2004,
social media indicates that Clark was either forgiven or forgotten. There are no anti-
Ramsey Clark Facebook pages or YouTube videos created to denounce or discredit
him. When he does appear in blogs that express aggression towards his Vietnam
War activism, he is only mentioned as an accomplice of Hanoi Jane. Approximately
seven blogs are posted condemning Ramsey Clark alone as a traitor, but they barely
mention his Vietnam War involvement and focus on his defense of Saddam Hussein.
The readers’ unconscious interviews below each blog are insulting, but not the
vicious, personal attacks targeted at Fonda.
The following are unconscious interviews for the blog, “Ramsey Clark: An American
- Maybe he should have lived in Iraq for ten years during Saddam’s rule and let’s see if he would still want to defend him (Brandonh).
- Clark, along with others, is a treasonous scoundrel (Old Cracker).
- Clark has been a traitor for a long time. He was a real darling during the anti war crowd during the Vietnam era (Nightdriver).
- Traitor he is, but I damn sure wouldn’t call him American [sic] (Dc-Zoo).
human waste” who deserves to be “hung,” “shot,” and “burned with her ashes sent
back to Vietnam,” Clark is referred to as a “mockery” and “scoundrel.” Clark’s
professional performance seems to be under attack rather than his humanity.
anti-Vietnam War activism. The United States Navy Veteran was a member of
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).
He was the first Vietnam veteran to testify to Congress about the war and did so in
uniform wearing his service ribbons.
Two days later, he was one of thousands of other veterans to participate in an
anti-war demonstration. They threw their medals and ribbons over the fence to the
front steps of the United States Capitol building (Oliphant). Like Clark, Kerry’s
demonstrations were highly publicized, appearing multiple times on ABC’s The Dick
Cavett Show, The Washington Star, and NBC’s Meet the Press. One of the most
commonly known criticisms of Hanoi Jane is that she called American political
leaders “war criminals.” However, Kerry made similar if not bolder statements.
When appearing on Meet the Press in 1971, Kerry stated:
committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment
and interdiction fire. I used 50 caliber machine guns, which we were granted and
ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and
destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of
warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as
a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from
the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed
the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike
areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried
Lieutenant Calley are war criminals (Kerry).
Kerry Sucks has approximately two hundred fans and the other entitled American
Patriots Against John Kerry has approximately five thousand fans, nearly thirty five
thousand less than the most popular anti-Fonda page.
While Jane Fonda aggressors focus their posts on the degradation of Fonda, the
posts on John Kerry’s page are only sporadically directed solely to Kerry.
Compared to Fonda’s lashings, Kerry’s hold a mild, juvenile tone. Users call him
names that mimic childish playground taunting such as, “Creepy Kerry,” “Johnny
Longface,” and “Herman Munster (Patterson).”
They say that his “brain is full of ketchup (Dop).” The most scathing
insults call Kerry a “worthless piece of toad shit,” a “pathological liar,” and “a mere
façade of a drug induced generation (Ryder).”
|Note: Kerry is not slut-shamed, however his wife is.|
by the rumor that Fonda caused fatalities. Hypothetically, if Fonda’s visit with the
POWs had led to their execution, Fonda would have been guilty for seven deaths.
However, Second Lieutenant William Calley Jr. was responsible for significantly
more. Unconscious interviews from Fonda antagonists often proclaim that she
should have been a convicted criminal, but Calley actually was one.
On September 5, 1969, Calley was found guilty for murder in his role in the My Lai
Massacre on March 16th, 1969 (Tucker 149). He was the only United States military
member convicted for the My Lai Massacre. Calley was charged with six
specifications of premeditated murder for the deaths of one hundred and four
Vietnamese unarmed civilians near the village of My Lai in South Vietnam. The mass
murder slaughtered and in some cases gang raped and mutilated up to five hundred
unarmed men, women, elderly, children, and infant civilians (Fonda 259).
|Setting fire to a home.|
|Notice the woman in the background buttoning her blouse, indicating that she was possibly just recovering from being raped by one or more American soldiers before being murdered by them.|
Calley served three years of house arrest at Fort Benning and was then released. He
currently lives with his wife in Atlanta, Georgia.
His crimes were highly publicized. He was on the cover of Newsweek
magazine on December 8th, 1969, as well as Time magazine on December 5th, 1969
and April 12th, 1971.
Unconscious interviews portray Jane Fonda’s controversial
photo among Vietnamese soldiers as a horrific betrayal. However, Calley was
featured on the cover of the November 1970 issue of Esquire, in uniform with four
Asian children huddled closely around him. While he is smiling brightly, the children
hold somber expressions.
Although the cover story gathered its share of controversy
at the time of its publication, unconscious interviews show that an astounding
amount of rage towards Calley has not had the shelf life as the rage towards Fonda.
There are currently zero anti-William Calley Facebook pages. Although there are
nearly one hundred YouTube videos that mention Calley, they are merely pieces of
documentaries that cover the My Lai massacre from a historical standpoint. There
are no videos compiled to directly attack Calley. In fact, the only videos dedicated to
Calley are songs by artists such as Smokey Harless and Pat Ryan that defend him
(Vietnam War Song Project).
Both Fonda and Calley have publicly apologized for
their actions. Unconscious interviews attached Internet articles of Calley’s apology
appear to be far more forgiving than Hanoi Jane’s. Fonda’s apologies are followed by
a few scattered unconscious interviews that accept and even praise her activism.
However, the majority of them still crucify her, proclaiming to always remember her
betrayal. The following are a few of the responses to one of her apologies:
- I lost many friends in Vietnam and I can tell you right now I would slap Jane the traitor across her face if I could only get to it (Higgins).
- Too little, too late, Hanoi Jane (Korman)!
- Hanoi-Jane will never be forgiven by the Vietnam veterans [sic] (Maxwell).
- I hope you die a slow, miserable life as you made my life miserable. Did I forget to say that I HATE YOU [sic] (Bill)?
- Jane, do the only thing possible. Take a gun and shoot yourself. Other than that, your apology means NOTHING [sic] (Chris).
actions, they display empathy. They tend to blame his wrongdoings on his military
orders and the horrors of war.
The following are unconscious interviews posted to the New York
Times feature of Calley’s August 24th, 2009 apology:
- As a young adult during the Vietnam conflict, this apology moves me very much (Pene).
- How sad that William Calley suffers permanent regret for what happened at My, Lai 40 years ago (Patterson).
- At least Calley recognizes that what he did was wrong (Mulegino).
- He seems to have accepted his guilt and shows remorse (Dave).
- Good to hear from Calley and see that he is doing well (Michael).
- Putting guns in the hands of young men and sending them in harms way will continue to lead to atrocities and horrible incidents that the fog of war helps induce. It has always been thus and will be and is a horrible part of war (Enlightened).
and composed in comparison to the words directed at Fonda. He is not called names
and persecuting remarks are often directed towards the American government as a
whole, rather than Calley alone. Users to not detail any desires to commit pain
against him in revenge. The following are negative unconscious interviews towards
- There is no denying that Calley committed a horrific crime, but the government-conceived, media-aided attempt to lay the blame solely at his feet is nearly as great a scandal as the massacre itself (Jimmy).
- My God, it took Calley 42 years to proffer a simple apology? It’s quite too little, 4 decades too late (John).
- Where is the justice in the American justice system (Prakosh)?
- They murdered defenseless women and children, including nursing babies, for several hours. What more do you need to know? If Calley were a real man he’d fall on his sword (Bill).
- I can only wonder if the families of My Lai felt the same outrage 35 years ago that the families of the Lockerbie bombing seem to feel now when a government shows mercy and compassion (Mike).
- Wow. This man kills 22 people and is let go after 3 years of comfy house-imprisonment, just because the victims weren’t Americans! I’m filled with rage and disgust (Z.S.).
Fonda’s celebrity status stands as another potential justification for her backlash. While
involvement in war is an obligation for politicians and service members, Hollywood
actors, actresses, and musicians can easily be perceived as spoiled elitists getting
involved for the sake of a publicity boost. In My Life so Far, Fonda remembers her
regret for her photo shoot among the Vietnamese soldiers:
I realize that it is not just a U.S. citizen laughing and clapping on a Vietnamese antiaircraft gun. I am Henry Fonda’s privileged daughter who appears to be thumbing my nose at the country that has provided me these privileges (Fonda 318).
However, Fonda was one of several famous Vietnam War activists including Bob
Dylan, John Fogerty, Neil Young, Pete Seeger, Donald Sutherland, Dick Gregory,
Fred Gardner, and specifically John Lennon, who President Nixon attempted to
deport. The Beatles musician wrote the anti-war ballad, “Give Peace a Chance,”
which was sung on November 15th, 1969 in Washington D.C, the second Vietnam
Moratorium Day, by a quarter million people demonstrating against the war in
Although the activist celebrity did receive criticism and
accusations of following communism, social media shows that antipathy towards
him has faded over the decades. There are zero Facebook pages compiled in
opposition to Lennon. There is no derogatory memorabilia depicting him as a
A few blogs are posted questioning whether or not Lennon’s songs had underlying
communist support, but the sparse unconscious interviews that attack Lennon do so
either lightly and sarcastically. Examples are, “Lennon was a communist and a
Satanist who obviously had affairs with Pokémon (Chris_Com283),” and “He was
one of the richest and most famous people in the world, had reaped the benefits this
country has to offer, but was a strong critic of the system that had brought him to
The Internet hoax originally created in 1999 was edited. Fabricated accusations against Fonda
from journalist and long
The Facebook page, “Vets Boycotting Hanoi Jane,” was created on March 28th, 2012 and
Veterans nationwide protested the film’s release and a theater in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
refused to play the film altogether (Stanton).
The fury conveyed in unconscious interviews went beyond Fonda simply
Actor and comedian, Robin Williams, who plays President Dwight Eisenhower, has also
mocked the Bush administration.
She was involved in several anti-war marches and rallies and like Fonda, visited North Vietnam in
1972 to address human rights and bring Christmas mail to American POWs. Although there are no
Facebook pages, websites, or YouTube videos compiled to portray her as treasonous, Baez has not
remained clean of military animosity. In 2007, she was invited by John Mellencamp to perform with
him at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. However, she was uninvited
by Army Officials. “There might have been one, there might have been fifty soldiers that thought I
was a traitor,” she stated (Cooper).
Her rejection received a fair amount of media converge, including a mention on CNN’s show,
Anderson Cooper 360, who welcomed viewers to state their opinions on the
CNN website. The majority of the unconscious interviews on his announcement sided with Baez,
stating that she should have been allowed to perform. Many boasted that anti-Vietnam war activism
needed to be forgiven. One demonized Fonda and downplayed Baez’s damage, stating, “Jane Fonda
was the one who was called Hanoi Jane and visited Hanoi. Joan Baez sang protest songs, blocked
streets, and made a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War by not paying her taxes voluntarily
(Charlotte).” Other unconscious interviews opposing her performance unleashed mild insults that
lacked the gruesome, violent tone typically reserved for Hanoi Jane. The following are unconscious
interviews on CNN’s website that side with her rejection:
Her 1968 role as the science fiction siren, Barbarella, was an erotic icon for the generation
|"Help Boycott Hanoi Jane" administrator|
|Sexualization and racism in a blog written by a Jane Fonda aggressor|
One particularly explicit post is a still shot from one of Fonda’s
High school teacher& dog lover
"Hey Hanoi Jane, I WILL outlive you just so I can piss on your grave!"
Bren Pool Vignaroli
Christian& Jane Fonda crotch enthusiast
Duck Dynasty supporter and loving grandmother
"It must be really frustrating, Jane. How long as it been since you used your enemy tank for a dildo?"
American patriot and loving father
Steelers fan and selfie taker