Adam Sandler: ‘Ridiculous Six’ Racism Controversy Was ‘Just a Misunderstanding’

Adam Sandler Most Overpaid Actor
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Adam Sandler is finally addressing the controversy that surrounded his Netflix project “The Ridiculous Six” after about a dozen Native Americans walked off the set of the movie in April.

The actors complained of racist jokes against Native Americans, but, finally speaking on the issue at the premiere of his upcoming movie “Pixels,” Sandler said he wasn’t trying to offend anyone.

“It was just a misunderstanding and once the movie is out will be cleared up,” Sandler told the Associated Press.

The comedian also called “Ridiculous Six” a “pro-Indian” movie.

“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,” he told ScreenCrush. “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.”

The actors who walked out took issue with reported inaccuracies in Native American culture, a lack of response from the director and racist jokes, with characters with names such as Beaver’s Breath and No Bra.

At the time, Netflix downplayed controversy with a statement, 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 Ridiculous Six” is the first film in a four-movie deal between Sandler and Netflix. It’s a spoof of Western “The Magnificent Seven.” Will Forte, Steve Buscemi, Taylor Lautner, Terry Crews, Vanilla Ice and Rob Schneider also star, with Frank Coraci directing from a script by Sandler and Tim Herlihy.

The film is expected to hit the streaming service next year.

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  1. Unfortunately if satire movies are not done in the right way ,they can become offensive and racist and this movie was a example of that. Using the word “engine” over and over does not have any place with humor

  2. Reign Roofwalker says:

    Well um an indian, Sioux/Chippewa to be exact and I thought the movie was funny. We as native American Indians need to step back once in a great while an just enjoy some humor when it comes to millennium ‘skin’ movies. Yes we all know about our ancestors back then and even today when we all face struggles in life. Not gonna sit an put out a big power speech but just saying it’s good to take it all in (native comedies) an laugh once in awhile without trying to take it personal or get offended by it.

  3. AJ says:

    Most overpaid actor? Is that a joke? Love him or hate him, his films have grossed over $4,000,000,000 (that’s billion with a ‘B’). If anyone deserves the big pay day, it’s him.

  4. Migjijg says:

    The problem with making jokes like this with Natives are a bit more seerious than you are in a position to understand. We can’t AFFORD to not be taken seriously. Our poverty, our population, our very lives are still in survival mode, which is not something you can nderstand. The rest of society, you ways, everything around us is a threat to our extinction and the extinction of our ways and culture. To promote that in any way is a direct threat to us. You might think it’s funny, but you are in a position in life where your way of life has no threats so you can’t possibly understand what that is like from our position. Movies have played a huge part in manipulating and distorting the reality of who we are to the rest of the world and even to some of us who are lost through foster cares systems etc. imagine being taken from your home and people and the only connection you have to them is through media. You can’t possibly know what that’s like. Or what it’s like to be Native and wanting to play sports at your school, but being humiliated out of it because your school mascot is Indians. We can’t AFFORD this type of humor. Not to mention, this is not the way we joke. Every culture has a different style to humor and to us, it’s just disrespectful to us and we see the behavior as an embarrassment to yourselves and dishonor to your families as well. I imagine you don’t see it that way, but if we were to behave like that on a Rez, we’d be embarrassed.

  5. pete ono says:

    Adam Sandler has a proven record as a racist… join all his racist stuff together and unfortunately you end up with something like a hate preacher. He should not be in Hollywood. He should be history now.

  6. J Woods says:

    Yes, tonto means foolish in Spanish, but kemosabe (or whatever your preferred spelling) means, basically a piece of shit in several Native American dialects, so Tonto wins anyway.

  7. realcowboy38 says:

    Just a note… why be offended over comedy when no mention was made of Johnny Depp as also the original portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger ..
    If you don’t know this, Tonto is the equivalent of “fool”. He was always called this demeaning word and identifying name.
    What of all the movies that portray them all as ruthless savages… as immoral? As drunkards and killers of whites?
    Just saying… kind of one sided to pick on one issue about one movie when you fail to raise issue with all the others. Makes you a hypocrite and one sided.
    I have native ancestry and I don’t find it offensive at all.. why? Because it’s not about offending ppl.. it isn’t about how you choose to take’s about the writers, directors and actors intentions.
    Anyone can twist and make anything bad, offensive, and harmful if that’s what they are seeking to do. What is your goal… how do you plan on taking it in.
    Here’s the point..I am a country boy, a red neck, whatever… look at all the jokes to be made… u laugh with you at them.
    In the words of the late great ROBIN WILLIAMS, I leave you with this.
    Figure it out…

    • Migjijg says:

      Being an “Ancestor Indian” and being Native, raised in the culture and identifying with the culture are two entirely different things. You are not in the right position to weigh whether or not the rest of us should be taking offense or not.

  8. L. Buddy Gwin says:

    Adam Sandler doesn’t need me to defend him. I’m just a ridge-runner who likes to laugh. So, where do we start?

    Maybe we start by acknowledging that humor is good medicine. Laughter can lighten a weary spirit. Levity is a hallmark of our Indigenous relatives across this universe. We can hear it in our traditional songs, stories and solemn ceremonies. There are few exchanges more hilarious as the self-deprecating soul speaking before legions of unknown faces.

    Our words are gifts from the Creator. This is why we’ve been raised to share them wisely. They can heal and they can hurt. Our challenge is to honor the Creator’s gift. Each of our communities has a keeper of our stories; keeper of our songs … our Clans and Societies are the glue that keep us as who we are, they speak for us. On the other hand, “Hollyweird” is the voice of “twistory”.

    It is not an issue of “his-story” or even “her-story”; it is twistory. The oppressor has put the twistorian in charge of finishing what could not be done by the sword, cross or the bible. The twistorians have written; legislators have codified; courts have decreed; churches have proselytized; and their children sing limericks celebrating the elimination of their “Indian problem”. Their Indian problem has been – we are still here.

    The oppressor’s “twistory” has opened the flood gates of abuse from which we’ve been treading for over five hundred years. A wise person once said – the oppressor no longer need to oppress when the oppressed become the oppressor. We are now on the threshold of such oppression.

    We’ve all been indoctrinated by the same twistory as the oppressor’s children. Twistory has lent societal license for intergenerational scarring perpetuated by the academic, religious and political dogma of the first boat-people.

    We express public indignation, rightfully so, when those outside of our communities publicly assault our dignity and honor. Unfortunately many of us, in our private moments, are as guilty if not more abusive to our loved ones and relatives. We need to end our oppression of our own people. Let us bring a ray of hope and laughter to our grandchildren. There are few things more pleasing than the sound of unbridled laughter from a child. Let’s heal the child within so that we can once again freely laugh as we try to walk in-between the rain drops of life.

    How many of us didn’t laugh with Chief Dan George in The Outlaw Josey Wales; Graham Greene in some of his most hilarious roles – Christmas In The Clouds; Thunderheart; Maverick; Skins; or with Wes Studi sitting around a campfire sharing a sacred sacrament while making light of the unwitting outsider?

    Movies are many things but they should never be confused with reality. Why do you think we call it “Hollyweird” anyway?

    In closing, Adam works hard at his craft and he has made many of us laugh in the past. Let him continue to improve on his craft. If we disagree with him we should keep our money in our pocket. Let’s put our energy in the bigger fight against twistory. Respectfully, Luke WarmWater

  9. Think about it. says:

    It’s all fun and games until an Indian child is surrounded by non Indian children and called the names mentioned in the movie. With self esteem already low in Indian children and suicides at an epidemic, you figure out the outcome….

    • Quimichipilli says:

      Many beautiful points but very short sighted to the long term effects of our Indigenous children’s. psyche. If there were numerous movies with accurate aor respectable representation of natives the landscape might be different, but that is not the case.

  10. Paully says:

    AS is a star .. If only his movies were better.. Sigh..

  11. Adam is usually pretty caring. BUT, if he wanted to be sure, in a fragile area such as this, he should have hired ME, and anti-bias specialist, one of only EIGHT in the whole world, who also is Native American. First, it is like N…………to black people to call them Indian…….we are stuck with Indian this and that, and even some of our youth programs like to call themselves NDN, but it is NOT for non Natives. Most of us even hate indigenous and aboriginal as well. WE are the original people here and if ANYONE should understand fragile cultural issues it should be a Jew. (we are part Jewish as well, so don’t take that wrong). Having consulted for a huge corporation that hired me to work on employee and corporation issues, I would say this to ANY employer, or even the President of the United States, when people are upset, LISTEN to them. Get a mediator, and clear the air, and RESOLVE, not compromise the issues. The difference is a salad compared to putting dinner in the blender and mixing it up……………..steak or chicken salad, yum, steak or chicken smoothie, not so much. Probably some of what you did would have gotten a laugh on FNX, done by Native Americans FOR Native Americans, but IF the Native American actors has been ASKED, they might have been better prepared, or settled and the issue would have been resolved. AND if people walk off your set for this type of reason, you need to ASK them to come in and have a trained mediator help you resolve the issues and get things back on track, not just expect them to suck it up because when it airs it will all be good. As I said, I am part Jewish, and it would NOT make me laugh to have a woman in a concentration camp urinating while being shoved in the oven. The tobacco ceremonies of Native Nations are very sacred, not just out smoking a marbleburro with the dudes………..and you would get mad if someone made a scene of a women peeing on a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Some things just are not funny. My sons are part Irish, and laugh at drunken Irish jokes, I went to law school, lawyers and judges started their classes with the latest lawyer jokes, they love them………but Native Nations people do NOT think being made fun of MORE is funny. Five hundred years of being murdered on their own lands in which Washington said if the Native Nations helped him defeat the british tribe not ONE MORE ACRE, or ONE MORE NATIVE life would EVER be taken, some of those old treaties read “until the sun stops shining” and mention that if the US does try to take lands, or uses guns or other weapons against the Native Nations people the entire lands will revert back and the US can go back to their european roots…………..some things just are NOT funny. And when you offend people in this manner, you need to resolve the issues, not just say, not meant to harm. It harmed.

    • citygray says:

      Do you realize that Indian is the preferred title that many Native peoples have decided that they prefer over Native American. Amerindian is my preferred designation, but I just thought that you should know that

      • Migjijg says:

        I don’t know who told you this, but as a registered Native American in this country and Canada, I can tell you it certainly is not. We prefer either Native or if you want to get REALLY politically correct here, all of the land (Mexico, the USA and Canada) is part of the original Turtle Island, so we are technically Turtle Islanders. I don’t know WHO told you we prefer “Indian” but it is definitely NOT the cas on any Rez I have EVER lived on.

      • EestiGuy says:

        Doesn’t mean it isn’t potentially offensive to some, just as some people self-identify as “black” or “white”, while others hate the whole ignorant attempt to classify people based on a color that doesn’t even come close to their actual skin color (nobody is white aside from albinos, and I don’t know about you but I don’t see too many people who are literally black – why is it ok to use those, but saying yellow person in reference to an asian individual or red guy when talking about a native is somehow less accurate?)

        As someone of European, Native, and Asian heritage, I get tired of all of the above. Yes, it IS racist to classify someone based on skin color (which varies widely even between people of the same “race” – my skin can be very light in winter but can be much darker than my Chinese girlfriend when I get any sun while my great uncle looked positively mongolian) – but this page is white. A sheet of paper is white (sometimes). A person? A person is not. People just don’t think about it because it has been used SO much for so long that they don’t even think of it as racist and accept it as something that defines them. Just as some natives have heard “indian” for so long they’re so used to it they just accept it. It’s what they grew up with. My Great Grandfather would have been one of those put in the “indian boarding schools” to whitewash them – and he didn’t like the term. To some, saying “Indian” is just stopping a step short of saying “redskin” or “savage”.

        People of all colors and heritages can be offended by things – not all, of course, but a respectable enough amount. I’m not full-blooded, and I don’t look like my native side, but even I don’t like the term indian – for me, it is because it is inaccurate. The people here were not from India. Columbus never reached India. Yet, people insisted on calling the people they found here Indians anyway. And so it stuck. Imagine if he thought they were going to China. Might’ve called them Chinese. Which actually would’ve been closer to the truth given the genetic ancestors of ancient native Americans lived in Siberia (the modern descendants of which included my Yakut ancestors) and shared genetic similarities with people throughout Siberia, Mongolia, and what is now Northern China and North/South Korea. This is especially evident with some of the Alaskan natives, who are frequently mistaken for being East Asians.

        Then again, “Native American” is also subjective at best – even my native ancestors weren’t ALWAYS here. They were immigrants, too. They just came 14,000 years ago instead of 500 like Europeans did.
        But immigrants nevertheless. Alaskan natives have even more recent genetic ties to Asia – some of their ancestors, genetics indicate, would have continued coming over LONG after the land bridge disappeared at the end of the ice age. They continued filing in by boat, skimming coastlines along Siberia and over to Alaska. This is also why Alaskan Natives (some of them) have features more similar to Siberian groups today. So in the end, if people don’t want to be called something….just dont call them that. It’s that simple. If one person is comfortable being called indian, or black, or white, or red, or whatever it doesn’t mean EVERYONE of said backgrounds will be.

        We live in an age where we are treading carefully and trying to make progress as a society – which is why there’s a lot of touchiness going on regarding being PC now more than ever. My view is, if you are expecting someone to address you in a PC way, then everyone should apply the same to everyone else – be they Native, European, African, Asian, etc.

  12. “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,” he told ScreenCrush. “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.”

    The actors who walked out took issue with reported inaccuracies in Native American culture, a lack of response from the director and racist jokes, with characters with names such as Beaver’s Breath and No Bra.”

    So, because the Native Americans “took issue” with it, they just didn’t understand that is was just being funny?

    and “There’s no mocking of American Indians at all in the movie. It’s a pro-Indian movie.”; Um, excuse me, but Beaver’s Breath and No Bra as names is not mocking?????? Really Adam? Come on.

    • Joy says:

      I agree. I’m jewish and while I can laugh at Adam’s jewish jokes I think when you are ‘joking’ about another group you’re not a part of and especially when it’s a group that suffered terribly, you should listen and understand what they may find offensive. Something’s are just cruel and off limits. Though I think sandler isn’t mean-spirited, he can be clueless and go too far. I hope his name recognition isn’t going to his head and making him feel invincible. There’s certain places you simply don’t go because its too painful for people given their history.

  13. Hsm says:

    The film is set for December 11, 2015, not next year.

  14. Bea of -FakeABaby- says:

    Knowing Adam, I’m sure it was unintentional. But let’s wait and see once it’s been released.

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