Jane Fonda Interviewed Yet Again on Good Morning America
Last year when the hardcover edition of "My Life so Far" was released, Good Morning America invited Fonda on for an interview aired in two parts: April 5 and April 6, 2005. Below are transcriptions of the Vietnam War segments of the interviews from today and April 6, 2005.
April 17, 2006:
Charlie Gibson: "You have written, also extensively in the book, about Vietnam and that era. And you have called it, that picture on the anti-aircraft battery, you've called it an horrific lapse of judgment. You've said you'll go to your grave regretting it.
"I was sorry to see the Georgia state legislature was going to honor you and the work that you've done for the Georgia campaign to prevent adolescent pregnancy. And then, they turned around and pulled the resolution because of the Vietnam thing. That just never goes, never goes away no matter how much you write about it and no matter how sorry you say you were."
Jane Fonda: "Yes, it's sad. It was a small group of legislators. However, I've gotten scores of letters from members of the Georgia legislature, from both sides of the aisle, saying that they're ashamed of what happened."
Gibson: "How did you react about it, or how did you feel about it?"
Fonda: "Well, you know, Charlie, I have come to accept the fact that there are people in this country that will never be able to fully understand the Vietnam War and I'm a lightning rod for their hurt, their pain, their anger. I made mistakes which have made me a lightning rod and I have to live with that, I'm not happy about it."
Gibson: "Does it limit the way you can speak out now?"
Fonda: "No, no. Well--"
Gibson: "You were going to go on a tour--"
Fonda: "Yes, it does."
Gibson: "--about this war, if we are at war."
Fonda: "Yes. I'm horrified by what we're doing in Iraq. And after my last national book tour, because I was so encouraged by people, including Vietnam veterans, to speak out. They'd say 'Where are you now on this war? We need you.' So, I wanted to do a tour like I did during the Vietnam War, a tour of the country. But then Cindy Sheehan filled in the gap. And she is better for this than I am. I carry too much baggage."
April 6, 2005
Diane Sawyer: "Jane Fonda. Yesterday she talked about the lessons learned about men and sex in her life. In her just-out autobiography, 'My Life So Far,' after 67 years she's also made some emotional discoveries about her very bruised childhood. But we begin this morning with that famous trip to North Vietnam, which she has been asked about for three decades now. She says again, however naive she may have been, she went there because of an absolute conviction that the Nixon administration was lying about the Vietnam War and unnecessarily costing not only Vietnamese lives, but of course those of American soldiers as well. But of all the images of her trip, including the radio broadcast, there is one moment that continues to be a focus of scalding criticism.
[To Fonda] That image of that girl, who was she?"
Jane Fonda: "I made one mistake when I was there, and it was just a complete lapse of judgment. It was my last day and someone led me over and I sat down on this anti-aircraft gun, and that image -- and a photograph was taken -- and that image, which betrayed everything that I had done the previous two years, working with soldiers, representing the GI movement, entertaining troops and all that, and I deeply regret it and I'll go to my grave regretting it."
Sawyer: "People think 'how could she not know that that gun, that they were killing Americans?'"
Fonda: "I wasn't thinking. It was not an active gun and there were no planes overhead -- it doesn't matter. The image is what it was, and it did not reflect what was in my heart or my experience. I wanted to end the killing. It wasn't my war. I didn't lie to people, I didn't send troops over there. I was trying to expose it to end the war."
Sawyer: "Do you want them to forgive and is there something you feel you need to say right now?"
Fonda: "No, I have said it, and if you'd like me to, I will certainly say it again. I am very sorry to have done things that caused me to be the focus of hostility and that may have hurt or made the soldiers feel betrayed. I'm sorry."