How Jane Fonda’s Vietnam Controversy Taught Her “Empathy Is Revolutionary”

In 1972, Jane Fonda sparked international controversy when she was photographed laughing and clapping with North Vietnamese soldiers — a photograph she’s apologized for ever since.   


What I learned is, we have to listen to each other, even when we don’t agree, even when we think we hate each other. We have to listen to each others narratives. Not interrupt defensively, or with hostility, but really try to open our hearts and listen with empathy.  I learned so much from that meeting. It was a very difficult thing to do and it was one of the best things that I ever did in my life. Look what scares you in the face, and try to understand it. Empathy, I have learned, is revolutionary.“ Jane Fonda