Sacheen Littlefeather: John Wayne Tried to ‘Assault’ Me at the Oscars


Sacheen Littlefeather dominated the headlines this week after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences formally apologized to her for the abuse she received at the 1973 Oscars. Littlefeather, who was 26 years old at the ceremony, took the stage on behalf of Marlon Brando, who was named Best Actor for “The Godfather,” and declined the award for him. Brando cited Hollywood’s problematic portrayal of “Native American Indians in film and television” as the reason for rejecting the Oscar.

To highlight the news of the Academy’s apology, plus an upcoming special program to be held in her honor at the Academy Museum in September, Littlefeather gave an in-depth interview to the Academy detailing what happened on the night. that she turned down Brando’s rejection. Oscar.

Littlefeather walked up to the Oscars stage and said, “I’m Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m Marlon Brando’s official representative here tonight. Unfortunately, he cannot receive this Academy Award because of the portrayal of Native American Indians in film and television today.”

“Then people started cheering and the other half cheering,” Kleineveer recalled. “And then all the people started to get upset in the audience. And I focused on the mouths and jaws that fell open in the audience, and there were quite a few. But it was like looking into a sea of ​​Clorox, you know, there were very few people of color in the audience. And I took a deep breath, put my head down for a moment, and when they calmed down, I continued.”

Littlefeather said that when she left the stage she saw John Wayne, who was furious at her speech and approached her in such a way that she thought he was going to attack her.

“[John Wayne] didn’t like what I said on stage,” said Littlefeather. “So he came forward in a rage to physically attack and take me off the stage. And he had to be stopped by six guards for that to happen.”

“It was interesting because some people gave me the tomahawk cutlet. I thought, this is very racist. Very racist indeed.” And I just walked gracefully and ignored them,” Littlefeather continued. “They put two armed guards around me and said they would take me to these different press rooms. One of them was for television press, radio press and international press. And I had about 10 minutes in each press room and that was it, and then I was escorted out the door.”

Littlefeather became the first Native woman to take the stage at an Academy Awards ceremony in 1973. She will join the Academy on September 17 for a special program and talk titled “An Evening With Sacheen Littlefeather.”

“We are delighted and humbled that Sacheen has so generously chosen to partner with the Museum and the Academy to reflect on her difficult experience at the 1973 Academy Awards,” said Jacqueline Stewart, Academy Museum director and president.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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