Earlier this week, the Academy issued a formal apology to Sacheen Littlefeather for her treatment at the 1973 Oscars, where she declined Marlon Brando’s award for Best Actor.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2021, Littlefeather noted how furious Wayne was at her speech and how he had to be restrained.
She said: “During my presentation, he was coming towards me to forcibly take me off the stage, and he had to be restrained by six security men to prevent him from doing so.”
Marty Pasetta, who was tasked with directing the Oscars’ broadcast between 1972 and 1988, noted how people “should have seen what was going on backstage”.
In a 1988 interview with the Chicago Tribune, he said: “We had a fight is what we had. It’s a piece of cake.”
”John Wayne wanted to go out there and physically yank her off the stage. It took six men to hold him back.”
Here’s a clip of the awards show the night Littlefeather spoke on Brando’s behalf:
1973: Native American actor Sacheen Littlefeather boo’d (and cheered) by Hollywood at the Oscars before being mocked by Clint Eastwood and almost physically assaulted by John Wayne simply for asking that Indigenous people not to be dehumanized in film.pic.twitter.com/BgOiuBq4hR
— rafael shimunov is at #NN22 (@rafaelshimunov) October 11, 2021
After the incident, Wayne reportedly discussed the altercation, claiming that if Brando had “something to say, he should have appeared that night and stated his views instead of taking some little unknown girl and dressing her up in an Indian outfit”.
Brando defended his decision in the aftermath during an interview with talk show host Dick Cavett.
He said: “I was distressed that people should have booed and whistled and stomped, even though perhaps it was directed at myself. They should have at least had the courtesy to listen to her.”
More recently, Littlefeather spoke passionately about finally receiving an apology from the Academy, noting how “we Indians are very patient people… it’s only been 50 years”.
Original article appeared on Variety