Weird History

When The FBI Went To War With Jane Fonda – And Won

Jane Fonda is an Oscar-winning actress who has continued working in film and TV into what some would call "old age." However, she is perhaps as notorious as she is famous. In the 1970s, Fonda began getting involved in a host of liberal causes, such as the Black Panthers, the Women's Movement, and the plight of Native Americans. Fonda's activism caught the attention of the FBI – specifically, J. Edgar Hoover. But it was Fonda's involvement with the Vietnam War that cost her her reputation with the American people.

A 1972 visit to Vietnam, in which Fonda posed for an unfortunate photo op with the North Vietnamese, led to her tarnished reputation and the nickname "Hanoi Jane." This nickname was not given lightly – Hanoi was one of the most notorious places where American POWs (like Senator John McCain) were held by the Vietnamese. Fonda's activism took her too far, according to some, and gave the FBI free reign to attack her openly. Fonda vs. FBI was an unfortunate and ongoing skirmish during the war, and it was a battle Fonda just couldn't win.