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Anti-Fonda Vet Wants More Than An Apology From ‘Hanoi Jane’

June 17, 1988

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) _ The head of a veterans coalition protesting actress Jane Fonda’s plans to film a movie here says he’s not satisfied by her apology to veterans and their families for her visit to Hanoi during the Vietnam War.

Gaetano Russo said Thursday that Fonda must ″do a series of positive acts″ beyond the television interview in which she apologized for her 1972 visit.

″I was trying to help end the killing,″ Fonda said in the interview with Barbara Walters scheduled to be broadcast tonight on ABC’s ″20-20″ news program. ″But there were times I was thoughtless and careless about it and I’m ... very sorry that I hurt them.″

The 15-minute interview was taped May 31 at Fonda’s home in Santa Monica, Calif., Fonda’s spokesman, Stephen Rivers, said Thursday.

Some veterans here and in Holyoke, Mass., referring to the actress as ″Hanoi Jane,″ have vocally opposed her planned appearances in those cities in August for the filming of the movie ″Union Street.″

The veterans staged large protests in Waterbury, while the boards of aldermen in Holyoke and nearby Chicopee, Mass., passed resolutions in recent months declaring Fonda unwelcome in the area.

The Rev. Edmund Nadolny, pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Church in nearby Naugatuck, predicted Fonda’s apology will satisfy all but those who have gained personal publicity from the anti-Fonda protests.

″Most of the people I talked with wanted an apology,″ said Nadolny, who joined several other area clergymen last month in calling for an end to the protests. ″They didn’t want vengeance as much as an apology.″

But Russo called the interview ″typical Fonda hogwash.″

The retired Connecticut Army National Guard major general said the actress was ″worried about her image.″

Fonda must back up her words with action to win his forgiveness, Russo said. He suggested she return to Vietnam to help in the return of prisoners of war still unaccounted for.

″She’s got to do a series of positive acts to make me believe she is sincere in the apology,″ he said.

″20-20,″ which released a transcript of the interview Thursday, said the segment includes a recording of Fonda’s radio broadcast from Hanoi that was uncovered in government archives, marking the first time the broadcast will be played in the United States.

In it, Fonda addresses servicemen stationed on aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin and tells them the bombs they are loading into planes are illegal and that using the bombs ″makes one a war criminal.″

The program also includes shots of Fonda visiting a North Vietnamese anti- aircraft installation, where she posed in the gunner’s seat wearing a helmet.

Fonda became involved with the anti-war movement while living in Paris. She visited Hanoi at a ″time when the war was supposedly winding down, but U.S. bombing of the North was being stepped up. Civilian areas were being hit,″ Walters said during her introduction.

″Fonda said she wanted to expose this, and help end the war,″ Walters said. ″Many Americans shared her feelings, but Fonda got most of the attention.″

Asked about the continued bitterness over something that happened 16 years ago, Fonda said, ″There are still festering wounds and lot of pain, and for some I’ve become a lightning rod.″

Fonda said she didn’t realize at the time the effect posing with the anti- aircraft gun would have.

″I know the power of images,″ she said. ″To have put myself in a situation like that was a thoughtless and cruel thing to have done. ... I take full responsibility for it. I was not a kid, you know. The responsibilty is mine.″

Fonda said she didn’t feel she had been duped by the North Vietnamese.

″I don’t remember being led to this gun; you know, I’m a strong woman,″ she said. ″I’m naive and I make mistakes, but ... it was my fault that I sat there, you know.″

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