Los Angeles (USA), Aug 15 (Globe Live Media).- The Hollywood Academy, which annually awards the prestigious Oscars, announced on Monday that it has sent a letter of apology to Sacheen Littlefeather, the indigenous woman who took the stage in Marlon Brando’s place when he won best actor in 1973.
“When you took the Oscars stage in 1973 to decline to accept the Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando, in protest of the film industry’s misrepresentation and mistreatment of Native Americans, you made a powerful statement that continues to remind us of the need for respect and the importance of human dignity,” David Rubin, current president of the Academy, said in the letter.
The letter, although dated June 18, was made public this Monday since the institution has confirmed that on September 17 Littlefeather will be the protagonist of an event organized at the Los Angeles Academy Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moment.
In 1973, Brando won the Oscar for best actor for playing the iconic Vito Corleone in “The Godfather,” but the actor, known for his activism, did not attend the red carpet and declined to go on stage.
In her place, a 26-year-old girl, known as Sacheen Littlefeather and dressed in Apache attire, appeared to collect the award, which she avoided touching, and to protest Hollywood’s discriminatory treatment of Native Americans.
Although her brief speech was applauded by the audience, it was also greeted with boos, racist gestures and subsequent jokes by the presenters of the gala, Raquel Welch and Clint Eastwood.
“The abuse you endured for that statement was unwarranted. The emotional toll you’ve experienced and the damage to your own career in our industry is irreparable,” the president said.
“For too long, your courage has gone unrecognized. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincerest admiration,” he added.
For her part, Littlefeather responded with a statement in which she joked about the “patience” of indigenous communities.
“About the Academy’s apology, we are very patient people. It’s only been 50 years! We have to keep our sense of humor at all times, it’s our method of survival,” added the woman, now 75 years old.
For Brando, who already had an Oscar for starring in “On the Waterfront” in 1954, the rejection of the award was not followed by reprisals: the Academy continues to consider him the winner of that edition and nominated him the following year for “Last Tango in Paris “.