Vietnamese Americans outraged as Los Angeles County honors Jane Fonda on Fall of Saigon anniversary


The Los Angeles County’s declaration of April 30 as “Jane Fonda Day” has sparked outrage among many Vietnamese Americans, who view the date as a day of mourning due to its significance as the Fall of Saigon in 1975.

Key points:

  • Vietnamese lawmakers, including California State Sen. Janet Nguyen and Assemblyman Tri Ta, have called on officials to cancel the new recognition.

  • April 30, known as Black April to the community, remains a solemn day for many of 2.3 million Vietnamese Americans in the U.S.

  • Actress and activist Jane Fonda, who is being honored for her environmental activism, has a controversial past during the Vietnam War.

The details:

  • Nguyen and Ta, whose families were affected by the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, expressed frustration over the county’s disregard for the Vietnamese community's collective trauma. The date honors the sacrifices made of some 250,000 South Vietnamese and 60,000 American soldiers.

  • Fonda, dubbed "Hanoi Jane" by Vietnam veterans and refugees, faced criticism for her actions during the war, including traveling to North Vietnam, being interviewed for communist broadcasts, and posing for photos with North Vietnamese soldiers and anti-aircraft guns that were used to target American pilots. Fonda has since apologized for the images, claiming that she was against the war but not American troops.

  • Ta, a Republican assemblymember representing Orange County, wrote in an opinion piece via the Los Angeles Times: “To have this solemn day overshadowed by the celebration of an individual who openly sympathized with the regime responsible for so much suffering is an insult to the memory of those who perished and those who continue to live with the scars of war.”

  • Nguyen, a member of the California State Senate, told CalMatters: “I pleaded to them that, you know, if you’re not going to rescind that, you at least change the date. April 30 is not the day.”

  • Following the strong opposition, the Los Angeles County Supervisors announced that they will change the date of honoring Fonda to another day in April, which is also Earth Month. Constance Farrell, a spokesperson for Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, said April 30 was initially selected as it coincided with a regular meeting in which the board typically issues proclamations honoring individuals and organizations.


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