Entertainment & Arts

Native Americans walk off Adam Sandler set

Adam Sandler Image copyright AP
Image caption Sandler-scripted film The Ridiculous Six was shifted from Paramount to Netflix earlier this year as part of an exclusive four-film deal between the actor and the streaming service

A group of Native American actors have walked off the set of an Adam Sandler comedy, claiming the film is "totally disrespectful" of Apache culture.

Nine actors quit the set of Western satire The Ridiculous Six this week over its portrayal of Native Americans.

But Netflix, which commissioned the film, said it was a "broad satire" intended to send up stereotypes.

"The movie has 'ridiculous' in the title for a reason: Because it is ridiculous," a Netflix statement said.

Actor Loren Anthony said producers ignored their concerns about the film's approach to Native American culture and the inappropriate use of props.

"Right from the get-go, it didn't feel right. But we let it go," the Navajo actor - an extra in the film - told the Associated Press.

"Once we found out more about the script, we felt it was totally disrespectful to elders and Native women," he added.

'Hollywood Indians'

Issues included offensive names for Native American women, such as Beaver's Breath and No Bra, and a scene which showed a Native American urinating while smoking a peace pipe.

Another extra, Goldie Tom, said producers on the New Mexico set told actors to leave if they were offended.

"This just shows that Hollywood has not changed at all," said actress Tom, referring to long-held issues between the Native American community and the US film industry.

"Nothing has changed," echoed Navajo actress Allison Young. "We are still just Hollywood Indians."

The group also protested about the use of non-Native Americans in Native American roles and other alleged inaccuracies. A Native American consultant on the film is understood to have walked out.

The Ridiculous Six is reportedly a satire of The Magnificent Seven.

The film, which stars Sandler, Taylor Lautner and Steve Buscemi, is the first of a four-film deal between Sandler and streaming service Netflix. It is co-written by Sandler and long-time collaborator Tim Herlihy, with whom he made film such as Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and Mr Deeds.

"It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularised, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of - but in on - the joke," said the statement from Netflix.

Sandler's Happy Madison Productions has yet to comment.

"Our Native American culture and tradition is no joking matter,'' said outgoing Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. "I applaud these Navajo actors for their courage and conviction to walk off the set in protest.'"

"Our dignity is not for sale," Native American actor David Hill - who left the set the week - told the Associated Press.

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