Not everyone is in on the joke when it comes to Adam Sandler’s first Netflix movie, currently in production in New Mexico.
Actor/musician Loren Anthony was one of several Native American actors working as extras on Ridiculous Six who decided to walk off in protest Wednesday night. Anthony told his Twitter followers,” Today work was no bueno, my native women were disrespected and i walked off set.”
Today work was no bueno, my native women were disrespected and i walked off set.
— Loren Anthony (@BLOODLINE1) April 23, 2015
A Netflix spokesperson countered today: “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.”
Ridiculous Six is meant to be a parody of 1960’s The Magnificent Seven, which itself was an Old West remake of 1954’s Seven Samurai, the Akira Kurosawa classic.
It’s Sandler’s first flick in a four-picture deal with Netflix, co-written with Tim Herilhy and directed by Frank Coraci, all of whom have worked with Sandler and Happy Madison Productions multiple times.
Anthony seemed happy enough on set just two days ago, filming with Sandler, Danny Trejo and Nick Nolte in New Mexico (the film also co-stars Will Forte, David Spade, Whitney Cummings, Rob Schneider, Terry Crews, Taylor Lautner, Steve Buscemi, and John Turturro).
But Anthony told his Twitter followers he’d had seen and heard enough disrespect to be disrespected any longer. Among other things, Anthony claimed they were dressing the native actors to look like Comanche when they were playing Apache, and that the jokes were so broadly stereotypical as to become downright offensive.
“I was asked a long time ago to do some work on this and I wasn’t down for it. Then they told me it was going to be a comedy, but it would not be racist. So I agreed to it but on Monday things started getting weird on the set,” he told Indian Country Today.
“We were supposed to be Apache, but it was really stereotypical and we did not look Apache at all. We looked more like Comanche,” he said. “One thing that really offended a lot of people was that there was a female character called Beaver’s breath. One character says ‘Hey, Beaver’s Breath.’ And the Native woman says, ‘How did you know my name?'”
Another actor, 74-year-old David Hill of Choctaw Nation, told the media outlet: “They were bringing up those same old arguments that Dan Snyder uses in defending the Redskins. But let me tell you, our dignity is not for sale. It is a real shame because a lot of people probably stay because they need a job.”
“I hope they will listen to us,” Hill said. “We understand this is a comedy, we understand this is humor, but we won’t tolerate disrespect. I told the director if he had talked to a native woman the way they were talked to in this movie—I said I would knock his ass out. This isn’t my first rodeo, if someone doesn’t speak up, no one will.”
The Comic’s Comic reached out to Anthony to find out how this experience compared to working on The Lone Ranger — where Johnny Depp played Tonto for comic relief — and will update this post accordingly.