FACT CHECK: Did Barbara Walters Author This Statement Criticizing Jane Fonda For Visiting North Vietnam?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook more than 14,000 times credits retired ABC News anchor Barbara Walters with authoring a statement criticizing actress Jane Fonda for her 1972 visit to North Vietnam.

Verdict: False

The Daily Caller found no record of Walters ever making the statement.

Fact Check: 

Fonda publicly opposed the Vietnam War during the 70s. In 1972, she visited Hanoi, where she made several radio broadcasts imploring U.S. pilots to stop bombing North Vietnam, according to the Washington Post. A well-known photo from that controversial visit shows her sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.

The Facebook post, which contains a number of claims about Fonda that have since been debunked by other fact-checkers, attributes to Walters a statement critical of the actress. It has been shared more than 14,000 times. (RELATED: Was Jane Fonda Denied Service At A Restaurant Run By A Vietnam Veteran?)

“Barbara Walters writes: Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War,” reads the beginning of the post.

However, there is no evidence Walters ever said or wrote the statement attributed to her in the Facebook post. A Nexis search didn’t turn up any matching or similar statements. No instances turned up on Newspapers.com.

Walters did sit down with Fonda in 1988, but the statement doesn’t appear in that interview either. In fact, Fonda actually apologized for her visit to North Vietnam and for posing for the photograph of her sitting on an anti-aircraft gun during the interview, according to an ABC News transcript.

“Jane Fonda told me that she now realizes in her urgent desire to end the war, she unthinkingly caused pain to many Americans who fought in Vietnam,” said Walters. “In our interview tonight, she speaks directly to former prisoners of war, to Vietnam veterans and their families. And confronting her past, she then apologizes.”

Fonda also appeared in an ABC News special, entitled “A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women,” that aired in April 1999. Walters, who hosted the program, also doesn’t appear to have made the statement during that broadcast.

The statement has been circulating in various forms for roughly two decades, according to Snopes.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter

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