Adam Sandler on ‘Ridiculous Six’ Native American Controversy: ‘It’s a Pro-Indian Movie’

Noam Galai, Getty Images

In October of last year, Adam Sandler signed an exclusive deal with Netflix to star in and produce four films for the streaming service. Just a few months later, Sandler found himself embroiled in perhaps the biggest controversy of his career on the set of his first picture under that deal, The Ridiculous Six. Described as a “broad satire of Western movies,” the film’s content insulted a number of Native American actors working on the film, a dozen of whom promptly walked off set, along with the Native cultural advisor for the project. On Saturday, Sandler spoke about the dispute for the first time with us and said he hopes the offended actors will eventually realize that Ridiculous is a “pro-Indian” movie.

The Ridiculous Six actors who left the production took issue with certain aspects of the film that they felt included “repeated insults” towards Native American woman and elders. One scene in particular had a female Apache woman named “No Bra” squatting and urinating while “smoking a peace pipe”. Another line of dialogue included Sandler’s character remarking to another Native American woman, “Say honey, how bout after this, we go someplace and I put my peepee in your teepee?”

Some of the actors claimed to have spoke to producers on the film about their concerns and were told, “If you guys are so sensitive, you should leave” (which they did). Sandler says he did in fact talk to some of the Native American actors, but never got a chance to address those who walked off set:

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% to just make a funny movie. 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.

For their part, Netflix issued a statement back in April defending the film, saying, “The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous. 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.”

The controversy does not appear to have soured Sandler’s lucrative development deal with Netflix. The actor said he’s had a great relationship with the studio so far, and they’ve already started production on their next joint-production, a comedy starring Sandler and David Spade.

Ridiculous Six, which co-stars Will Forte, Taylor Lautner, Steve Buscemi, Danny Trejo, Terry Crews, Luke Wilson, Nick Nolte and Rob Schneider is set for a worldwide premiere on Netflix on December 11.

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