After starting off as an ingenue in the 1960s, by 1970 Jane Fonda had won her first Oscar nomination (for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?) and was immersed in the protest movement against the Vietnam War. As she explains on her website, she toured the country raising funds, giving speeches, and looking for ex-soldiers who could testify that atrocities like the “My Lai massacre was not an isolated incident, but a not-uncommon occurrence that was part and parcel of the U.S.’s war strategy.”
In November 1970, Fonda attempted to reenter the country from Canada after her very first speech, when all of her luggage was seized at the Cleveland airport. (The more things change…) The customs agents declared that some pills she had were suspicious, even though she insisted they were vitamins in “little plastic envelopes marked (in red nail polish) ‘B’, ‘L’, ‘D’–signifying breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Likely due to her political activism (“they said they were getting orders from the White House–that would be the Nixon White House”), Fonda was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling, making headlines all over the country. (The pills, unsurprisingly, were eventually revealed to be vitamins). Her mug shot was taken at the Cleveland jail, where she included a “power to the people” fist bump. She “had just finished filming Klute [for which she would eventually win her first Oscar] so, yes, it was the Klute haircut.”
Today People featured Fonda’s new merchandise, also available on her website, features the iconic mug shot on coffee mugs, purses, and a variety of T-shirts. Sale proceeds will go to the Georgia Campaign For Adolescent Power & Potential (GCAPP), which offers “age appropriate, medically accurate” sex education for young people. Almost five decades after her arrest, Fonda is as politically active as ever; she recently spent her 79th birthday at the Dakota Access Pipeline with the people of Standing Rock.
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