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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Blame Jane Falsehoods

Q: Is President Obama honoring Jane Fonda as one of the women of the century?

A: No. That was done 11 years ago by Barbara Walters of ABC News.


A recent chain e-mail claims that Obama will honor Jane Fonda. Is this true?

Never Forgive A Traitor

For those of you too young to remember Hanoi Jane is a bad person and did some terrible things during the Vietnam war. Things that can not be forgiven!!!!

For those who served and/or died. . .


And now OBAMA wants to honor her……!!!!

In Memory of LT. C.Thomsen Wieland who spent 100 days at the Hanoi Hilton


She really is a traitor.


This is for all the kids born in the 70’s and after who do not remember, and didn’t have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and older brothers and sisters had to bear..

Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the ‘100 Women of the Century.’


Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam.

The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot’s name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat.

In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the ‘ Hanoi Hilton.’

Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ’s, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American ‘Peace Activist’ the ‘lenient and humane treatment’ he’d received.

He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward
on to the camp Commandant ‘s feet, which sent that officer berserk.

In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant’s frenzied application of a wooden baton.

From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E’s). He spent 6 years in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’,,, the first three of which his family only knew he was ‘missing in action’. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a ‘peace delegation’ visit.

They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it , in the palm of his hand.

When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man’s hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: ‘Aren’t you sorry you bombed babies?’ and ‘Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?’ Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.

She took them all without missing a beat.. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper..

Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day.

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam , and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years.

I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia ; and one year in a ‘black box’ in Hanoi My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot , South Vietnam , whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs)

We were Jane Fonda’s ‘war criminals…’

When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi , I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with her..

I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received… and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as ‘humane and lenient.’

Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weights placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.

These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of ‘100 Years of Great Women.’ Lest we forget….’ 100 Years of Great Women’ should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots.

There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane’s participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can.. It will eventually end up on her computer and
she needs to know that we will never forget. RONALD D. SAMPSON, CMSgt, USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron, Chief of Maintenance DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343



It is simply false that the president is planning to honor Jane Fonda as one of the "100 women of the century," as this chain e-mail claims.

Fonda was one of many women featured in a Barbara Walters special for ABC News called "A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women," which looked at the "most inspiring, intriguing and entertaining" women of the 20th century. It was actually based on a list of the "100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century" selected by a panel for Ladies’ Home Journal.

The program hosted by Walters aired on April 30, 1999, nearly 10 years prior to Obama becoming president. Versions of this e-mail — without references to Obama, of course — began circulating soon after Walters’ special aired. They make some false claims about Fonda.

Jane Fonda in Vietnam

It is true that Fonda, an actress and activist, traveled to Hanoi, North Vietnam, in 1972 to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

She delivered several messages on the communist country’s Radio Hanoi encouraging American soldiers not to bomb the North Vietnamese. She also reportedly called freed American prisoners of war returning to the U.S. "hypocrites and liars" for claiming they had been tortured by their captors. And she was infamously photographed posing warmly with a group of North Vietnamese soldiers at an anti-aircraft gun site during her visit there. Her actions earned her the moniker "Hanoi Jane" from war veterans of that era who still harbor bad feelings toward her to this day. 

But whatever one may think of Fonda’s visit to Hanoi, she did not do some of the things claimed in this e-mail message. In fact, some of the claims were debunked years ago by some of the very people named in the e-mail.

False Claims

It is not true, as this e-mail claims, that Jerry Driscoll, a former POW in Vietnam, suffered career-ending double vision from a beating he allegedly received from his captors after Fonda visited. Driscoll, who has said he never met Fonda, has denied for years that the scenario described in the e-mail ever happened. In 2005, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported him saying:

Star Tribune, May 25, 2005: "Totally false. It did not happen," Driscoll said.

Held almost seven years, Driscoll has negative feelings about Fonda because of her visit, but he wasn’t beaten because of her and can see just fine. After all, he flies corporate jets now, after retiring as a pilot from the Air Force and later American Airlines.

"I don’t know who came up with [my] name. The trouble that individual has caused me!" he said, referring to the time he has spent repeatedly denying the persistent myth.

It also is not true that Fonda gave North Vietnamese guards little pieces of paper with the Social Security numbers of American POWs on them that supposedly resulted in the beatings of former POW Larry Carrigan and three others.

Since e-mails like this one began circulating in 1999, Mike McGrath, a former POW and director and historian of the Nam-POWs, has been denying that there were any beating deaths as a result of Fonda’s visit:

Star Tribune, May 25, 2005: Carrigan, 64, is so tired of having to repeat that he wasn’t beaten after Fonda’s visit and that there were no beating deaths at that time that he won’t talk to the media anymore, said Mike McGrath, a retired Navy pilot held for almost six years and historian of the nonprofit NAM-POWs veterans group. McGrath, 65, of Colorado, also said there were no known beating deaths of POWs after 1969. All known POWs in North Vietnam were released early in 1973.

"We don’t want to be party to false stories, which could be used as an excuse that her real actions didn’t really happen, either," McGrath wrote in a 1999 rebuttal to the e-mails, when he was president of NAM-POWs. 

One Thing Right

The e-mail does get one other thing right, according to Michael Benge, a former civilian economic development advisor who was captured by the North Vietnamese in 1968.

Benge told the Star Tribune that he is the man described in the e-mail as having "spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weights placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane." Though he said he didn’t know who attached his story to the e-mail.

Benge, who was held captive for more than five years, described his punishment in a letter he wrote in 1999, shaming Walters and ABC for including Fonda in that year’s special. 

Michael Benge letter excerpt, 1999: At one time, I was weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.). We were Jane Fonda’s "war criminals." When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs were receiving, which was far different from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane Fonda, as "humane and lenient."

Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel rebar placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms dipped. Jane Fonda had the audacity to say that the POWs were lying about our torture and treatment.

Now ABC is allowing Barbara Walters to honor Jane Fonda in her Feature "100 Years of Great Women." Shame, shame on Jane Fonda! Shame, shame on Barbara Walters! Shame, shame on 20-20. Shame, shame on ABC. And, shame, shame on the Disney Company.

Fonda has since apologized a number of times for being photographed with North Vietnamese soldiers including during a 2005 interview with Lesley Stahl for CBS’ "60 Minutes."

"I will go to my grave regretting that," Fonda said. "The image of Jane Fonda, Barbarella, Henry Fonda’s daughter — just a woman, sitting on an enemy aircraft gun, was a betrayal."

She declined to apologize during the interview for speaking out against the war on Radio Hanoi, or for meeting with American POWs during her 1972 visit, which Stahl said the North Vietnamese later used for the purpose of propaganda.

— D’Angelo Gore   


"A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women." Transcript. ABC News. 30 Apr 1999.

Markey, Kevin. "100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century." Meredith Books, 1998.

Dougherty, Jon. "Not saluting Jane Fonda, part II." World Net Daily. 10 Nov 1999.

Hahn, Trudi. "Ex-POW is no fan of Fonda, but he debunks e-mail claim." Star Tribune (Minneaplois). 25 May 2005.

"60 Minutes." Transcript. CBS News. 3 Apr 2005.

Leung, Rebecca. "Jane Fonda: Wish I Hadn’t." CBS News. 3 Apr 2005.