The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences apologized to Native American activist and actor Sacheen Littlefeather nearly 50 years after being greeted by harassment and disdain when she refused Marlon Brando’s Oscar.
The year 1973 was the time that Littlefeather made history by becoming the first actor to speak out in a statement about politics at the Oscars ceremony. When Brando was named the most outstanding actor in his performance in “The Godfather,” Littlefeather took the stage to make a strong and emotional statement on the representation of Native Americans in the entertainment industry.
In her talk, Littlefeather was applauded and cheered. In a recent interview with A. frame The academy’s online magazine the academy’s digital magazine, the fact that John Wayne physically assaulted her and escorted her off the stage.
This month, David Rubin, the former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released an apology for Littlefeather regarding the manner in which she was treated.
“I send you this letter which has been an extended time on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a humble acknowledgment of your experiences during the 45th Academy Awards,” wrote Rubin in his letter that was posted online Monday.
“As you were on the Oscars stage in 1973, refusing to take your Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando, in protest of the defamation and ill-treatment by the Native American people by the film industry and the film industry, you made an eloquent statement that has continued to remind us of the importance of respect and the value of humanity’s dignity.
“The resentment you received as a result of this response was unjustified and insufficiently justified. The emotional pain you’ve endured and the damage to your professional career in our field are incalculable,” the statement said in part. “For too long, the bravery you displayed has gone not been acknowledged. We accept our sincere apologies and our deepest admiration.”