Jane Fonda has been one of the leading proponents of feminism and other social issues within Hollywood since her career took off in the 60s, and with the advent gender-issue reckonings such as the #MeToo movement, it’s hard not to feel as if some of her hard work is beginning to pay off. That is, so long as these abusers don’t feel as if they can just waltz back into the spotlight.
Figures such as Louis CK and Charlie Rose, only months after numerous allegations toward each have surfaced, seem to already be plotting their return to their fields—and it comes as no surprise that Jane Fonda has some pretty strong thoughts about that, which she was happy to share while promoting her new career-spanning documentary, Jane Fonda in Five Acts.
Abusers need to put in the (hard) work
Fonda understands that empathy might not be the strong suit for men – especially the bigtime Hollwyood exec type. But the actress sees that as no excuse—they’ve abused their power and privilege, and it’s that very abuse that should show them their need to change: “Men are trained not to be empathic, not to be emotional. So it’s not easy what they’re trying to do. But they have to try to do it! So it doesn’t matter if it’s been two weeks or two years. It just matters what kind of changes they’ve gone through.”
And if you don’t put in the work, take a hike…
The call for abusers to reflect and reevaluate themselves is one that Fonda sees as necessary work if they ever want to make a return to public life. Fonda made it very evident her lack of sympathy for any who thinks they can make their return without any evidence of them having examined and changed their behaviours: “It doesn’t matter how much time [they’ve been out of work]. If they haven’t done the work, then why should they come back?”
… So that there’s more room for us women
Fonda doubled down on how she doesn’t have even the time of day for any abuser looking to return to the spotlight without having put in the work. Specifically, Fonda preaches that if you’re not willing to learn from your past abuses, then make room for the demographic that’s often found themselves at the hands of that abuse – women. “Oh, poor top-paid executives who can’t get his job back,” teases Fonda. “Fuck it! Sweep the floor at Starbucks until you learn! If you can’t learn, you don’t belong in the boardroom. And there are plenty of women who do belong in the boardroom.”