The actress Jane Fonda recently disclosed why her legendary Hollywood star father, Henry Fonda, once smacked her. While on Kerry Washington’s “Street You Grew Up On” podcast, Jane recounted that when her father married Susan Blanchard, a Jewish socialite, after her mother’s suicide, Henry moved to New York City, away from where Jane and her brother Peter were raised in Los Angeles.
She revealed their exposure to people of color for the first time through Susan’s African-American friends. It was also in New York that Jane first heard the N-word and repeated it, resulting in her father smacking her across the face and sternly warning her never to say the word again.
Apparently, this event had a significant impact on Henry’s actions. According to Jane, Henry’s father once forced him to witness a Black man being hanged and his body dragged around the town’s square in Omaha, Nebraska. This traumatic event influenced his movie roles and his stance against racism and in support of justice.
Additionally, it is noteworthy that, despite Jane’s reputation as a liberal activist, her father, in his younger days, was a registered Republican, which came as a surprise to his children. Jane has also criticized her father for failing to bring joy home and for being indifferent towards his career choice.
Despite their differences, it’s evident that Henry’s principles and experiences left a significant background that shaped Jane and her life decisions.