Three months after Native American extras stormed off the set of Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous 6 over what they considered culturally offensive humor, the actor has commented on the controversy. At the red carpet premiere for Sandler’s new movie Pixels, he was asked about the incident and whether the Western comedy stereotyped Native American culture. “It was just a misunderstanding and once the movie is out, it will be cleared up,” Sandler told The Associated Press.
“I talked to some of the actors on the set who were there and let them know that the intention of the movie is 100 percent to just make a funny movie,” Sandler added (via Screen Crush). “It’s really about American Indians being good to my character and about their family and just being good people. There’s no mocking of American Indians at all in the movie. It’s a pro-Indian movie. So hopefully when people see it — whoever was offended on set and walked out, I hope they realize that, and that’s it. It was kinda taken out of context.”
In April, roughly a dozen Native American extras left the Ridiculous 6 set, citing a script that perpetuated stereotypes like the “drunk Indian.” In one scene, a female character named Wears No Bra is shown urinating while smoking a peace pipe. In another sequence, Sandler’s character asks a Native American woman, “How bout after this, we go someplace and I put my peepee in your teepee?”
However, while a dozen extras ditched the production, that represented a small fraction of the hundreds of Native Americans recruited for the film, many of whom defended Ridiculous 6 following the controversy. “It’s a comedy, not a documentary,” said actor Bonifacio Gurule, while another extra said many cultures, not just Native Americans’, were being skewered in the Western.
“The movie has ‘ridiculous’ in the title for a reason – because it is ridiculous,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Even Vanilla Ice, who portrays author Mark Twain in the comedy, stood by the film. “I don’t think anybody really had any ill feeling or any intent or anything. This movie isn’t Dances With Wolves. They’re not there to showcase anything about anybody – they’re just making a funny movie, I think,” said the rapper, who is part Choctaw.
Joining Vanilla Ice in the eclectic cast are Will Forte, Blake Shelton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Trejo, Terry Crews, Luke Wilson, David Spade, Taylor Lautner, Nick Nolte, Whitney Cummings and Rob Schneider. The Ridiculous 6, a play on the classic Western The Magnificent Seven, will premiere on Netflix on December 11th. The comedy is the first in an exclusive four-film deal Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions inked with Netflix in October 2014.