Dartmouth graduate among those who walked off the film set.
MANCHESTER, NH – Newsflash: Someone found the new Adam Sandler Netflix movie to be offensive, disrespectful and in poor taste.
Wait – that’s no newsflash. That’s just another Adam Sandler movie.
This time Sandler, one of Central High School’s most famous graduates, has managed to offend a group of Native American actors in his latest venture, an online-only movie scheduled for release on Netflix called “The Ridiculous Six.”
The movie deliberately lampoons stereotypes to in a broad way to show how stupid stereotypes from the old Westerns were, according to Sandler’s camp.
But the Associate Press reports that eight actors quit after producers ignored their concerns about its portrayal of Apache culture and the inappropriate use of props.
Among those actors was Allie Young, 25, a 2013 Dartmouth grad who earned her degree in Film & Medial Studies, and aspiring filmmaker. She is also a member of the Navajo tribe. In an April 26 story Young told the Valley News that she took the job as an extra in “The Ridiculous Six” to make industry connections, and also to see that the movie accurately depicted Native Americans.
She said she quickly learned that “background actors can’t do much at all” to influence a production. The problem with Sandler’s material was not just philosophical for Young, but also personal.
Young is co-founder of Survival of the First Voices Festival, a summer event in her native Farmington, N.M., which is focused on using art and media to change the way Native Americans are represented in the arts. The festival addresses the everyday struggles with suicide, alcohol and drug abuse experienced by Native American youth, including her younger brother, who took his own life at the age of 17.
In her website biography, Young explains her goals in changing the stereotypes around Native American culture that have been perpetuated by history:
Highlighting the social injustices is not my only goal. Through my art, I would also like to help Native youth realize the beauty of our cultures and languages, and to encourage them to be proud of their ancestry. Working towards building this strong foundation in our youth across “Indian Country,” we will have the support necessary to change negative stereotypes of our people in the media and reclaim Native American history. Our stories will no longer be his story, told in textbooks and Hollywood Westerns; they will be authentic, from The People.
Young said she would like Adam Sandler to comment on the extras’ concerns and she hopes Netflix, which is set to distribute the film, might consider pulling it.
“I’m glad we went,” she said. “We saw this and it’s not OK.”
Sandler’s comments from October of 2014, on why he was working with Netflix, aligns with his comic reputation. He was quoted as saying he decided to do an online-only project “because Netflix rhymes with wet chicks.”
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