Some believe that we should regard no subject or topic as sacred when it comes to comedy; the benefits of the ability to apply parody and satire outweigh the drawbacks. With this mindset comes a dilemma: at what point do we stop making a statement, and just start exploiting these topics?
Several Native American extras on the set of “The Ridiculous Six,” an upcoming Netflix and Adam Sandler western-comedy, walked off the set after an argument with the producers over the offensive jokes and portrayal of their culture.
Video below posted by TMZ — obtained from Indian Country Today Media Network — shows the extras debating the offensive nature of the jokes with the film’s producers.
Some of the controversial jokes included: a sexual proposition where one character asks, “how about after this, we go someplace, and I put my peepee in your teepee?” Numerous Native American stereotypes (such as peace pipes) and offensive character names, such as “Sits-on-Face” and “Beaver’s Breath” were also called into question.
This development raises a serious debate over what we should consider funny versus what we should consider offensive. Compounding the issues of the script is the condescension at the hands of the crew, who attempts to downplay the offensive nature of the writing by saying, “Adam Sandler is playing a person that loves you guys.”
The TMZ video also shows the Native American extras appearing to be genuinely offended by the script, and even more offended by the producers’ attempt to clarify why they should not take offense. History has shown us that companies that do not exercise racial and cultural sensitivity often suffer as a result of their carelessness.
Whether some studios wish to acknowledge it or not, diversity has become an important factor in modern filmmaking. Not only that, progressive portrayals of these various races and cultures can play to a film’s benefit.
Only time will tell just how much this development hinders the movie. While Adam Sandler still draws in money at the box office, many critics would agree that his career is in a decline. At this point, he should try to offend as few people as possible.
What do you think of the jokes? Were the extras right to walk off the set? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us how you feel!