After a dozen Native Americans hired to play extras on Adam Sandler’s Netflix-produced western Ridiculous 6 ditched the set, one Navajo actress named Allie Young sat down with MSNBC to discuss the many reasons why they decided to leave the production. In addition to the script that they found offensive and disrespectful, the extras felt that the comedy – a play on The Magnificent Seven – furthered century-old stereotypes about Native Americans, Mediate reports.
“I’m full-blooded Navajo and they bronzed me. I was quite confused,” Young said of the makeup department darkening her skin to make her look more stereotypically like a Native American. Young also revealed that the film’s cultural consultant was the first person to leave the set. “That says something when the cultural advisor for the film quits because he’s offended,” she said.
Much has been made of the script giving characters names like “Beaver Breath” and “No Bra,” but that was just the tip of how offensively the production viewed Native American women. “There was one instance where one of the Native American women, played by a white actress, is passed out on the ground and the group of white men are throwing liquor on her and she jumps up and starts dancing with everybody else,” Young says of her breaking point to leave the film. “That’s not comedy when it comes to Native American stereotypes because we’re always portrayed as the ‘drunk Indian,’ and that’s just perpetuating those stereotypes.”
In a December 2012 version of the script (via Gawker), some of the more offensive humor appeared to be toned down by the time it reached the New Mexico set. For instance, the character “No Bra” was originally referred to as “Sits-on-Face.” “How about after this, we go someplace and I stick my pee-pee in your teepee,” says one male character to “Sits-on-Face.”
Netflix defended the film and its humor in a recent statement. “The movie has ‘ridiculous’ in the title for a reason –because it is ridiculous,” the spokesperson said (via Deadline). “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.”
“It’s comedy, but still… They’re still perpetuating the stereotypes,” Young said in response to Netflix’s statement, adding that Sandler was a “good guy” on set. Neither Sandler nor his Happy Madison Productions have commented on the incident.