Last week, a dozen Native American actors and actresses walked off the set of the new, direct-to-Netflix film The Ridiculous Six, starring Adam Sandler. I’m going to be frank about this: I loathe Adam Sandler. I have never found him funny, and I find his humor to be derivative and juvenile. But from the early reports of this film, I thought it would be interesting. There were rumors that the extras were actual Native Americans, and that the film had hired a Native American cultural advisor. What could be better than culturally appropriate references to historically oppressed populations?
A video captured actors arguing with producers about the offensive representation of Apache culture in the script. The change the producers refused to make? The name “Beaver’s Breath” for a female character. Huh.
Other offensive jokes included a woman named “No Bra” squatting while urinating and smoking a peace pipe and something about putting a “peepee in your teepee.” This is the level of humor we’re dealing with here.
More recently, allegations have come up that the makeup artists on the show also used darkened makeup to make actors look more Native American, including actual Native Americans.
“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.”
I wish I could understand what would possess anyone to do anything but apologize profusely for this. If the Native American cast is “in on” the joke, then why did a dozen of them walk off your set after producers told them to leave if they were going to be too “sensitive” about the script? I always find it’s a good policy to scan the script to see if it conveys the satire that is intended. These jokes, in my opinion, are not satire, but simply the same old, recycled racist tropes.
There’s no official release date on The Ridiculous 6, but I likely won’t watch it. Will you? What do you think of this controversy?