So You're Jane Fonda, So What?
Date Added: May 13, 2005
A politically outspoken celebrity makes millions of enemies during one of the most controversial conflicts in modern history, then arrogantly (and, apparently cluelessly) tries to use her perceived star power to get special treatment at a restaurant, only to be harshly rebuked by the establishment's owner. It makes for great story telling but, alas, it may be just that - a story.
Warms the cockles of your heart.
Only in America
FM 100.7 (A local radio station) was doing one of their "Is anyone listening" bits this morning. This first one was, "Ever have a celebrity pull the 'Do you know who I am' routine?" A woman called in and said that a few years back, while visiting her cattle rancher uncle in Billings, MT., they had occasion to go to dinner at a restaurant that does not take reservations. The wait was about 45 minutes. Lots of other rancher types and their spouses were already waiting.
In comes Ted Turner and Jane Fonda. They want a table. The hostess says they'll have to wait about 45 minutes.
Jane Fonda asks the hostess if she knows who she is. "Yes, but you'll still have to wait 45 minutes." Then Jane says, "Is the manager in?"
The manager comes out, "May I help you?"
Do you know who I am?" ask both Jane and Ted.
"Yes, but these folks have all been waiting already and I can't put you in ahead of them."
Then Ted asks to speak to the owner The owner comes out. Jane again asks, "Do you know who I am?"
The owner says, "Yes, I do. Do you know who I am? I am the owner of this restaurant and a Vietnam Veteran. Not only will you not get a table ahead of all of my friends and neighbors here, but you also will not be eating in my restaurant tonight or any other night. Good bye."
Only in America, what a great country!
To all who received this email. This is a true story and the name of the steak house is Sir Scott's Oasis Steakhouse. The story left out one important part. The owner of the restaurant told Ted Turner that he was a Vietnam Vet and that he (Ted) would be welcome in his restaurant but Ted would have to get that bitch traitor out of his establishment because he would not serve her under any circumstances. I live part of the year in West Yellowstone, MT and eat from time to time at the Oasis.
Tales about celebrities trying to use their status to receive special favors (such as preference in a restaurant, free or discounted products or even to get out of minor crimes and infractions) tickle our fancy because we revel in someone we perceive to be pompous and reality-impaired getting their comeuppance. It's all the more satisfying when the rebuked celeb is also someone known - even villified - for having very public and unpopular political views or who has committed deeds seen by many as totally unacceptable, even traitorous.
Thus, this anecdote about Jane Fonda not only failing to receive special treatment because of her star status, but also being put in her place by a Vietnam Veteran, is doubly satisfying. Many consider Fonda a traitor for her open opposition to the Vietnam conflict and feel she should have been tried and convicted for visiting the North Vietnamese army and appearing in propaganda-like video clips in which she declared the American POWs were being treated humanely by their captors (and later calling those POWs liars for claiming otherwise) - actions that earned her the odious epithet "Hanoi Jane."
The chain letter above began circulating in the summer of 2003, probably in response to patriotism being at a fever pitch with military operations beginning in Iraq. It had another surge in popularity a year later, during the hotly contested 2004 Presidential election. It resurfaced again in the spring of 2005, probably in reaction to the release of "Monster-in-Law," Fonda's first starring role in a major film in 15 years.
But the legend of Ted Turner and Jane Fonda being refused service goes back, at least in narrative form, as far as 1991 (perhaps coinciding with her 1990 film, "Stanley & Iris"). The first documented instance of the tale being told was a 1996 Rush Limbaugh radio program in which a caller related it. Originally, the tale contained few details about the time and place this encounter supposedly occurred.
If this did happen in any degree, it would have had to have been prior to 2001, when Fonda and Turner divorced. The 1996 variant placed it at the Rocky Mountain Pasta Company in Bozeman, Montana. In fact, of the various locales in which this was alleged to have occured, the state is always Montana, probably because Turner and Fonda owned a ranch there (Turner also owns a chain of steakhouses called Ted's Montana Grill).
As for the most recently cited setting, Sir Scott's Oasis Steakhouse, various accounts have restaurant representatives either flat-out denying that such an encounter ever occurred, or offering a slightly different perspective - namely that Fonda respectfully said she had to leave when told how long the wait was. Both accounts fall short of the legendary rebuke she is alleged to have received.
In 2004, the Sir Scott's version was modified to feature not Fonda and Turner, but Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry.
It's hard to say whether or not something similar to what is alleged with Turner and Fonda may have happened. Unfortunately, we're left to rely on vague recollections that are either short on detail or that don't stand up to scrutiny. There's no doubt that many want this to be a true story, but one thing we've learned from years of watching urban legends like this one is that wanting something to be true - no matter how many people do so - just can't make it so. Break this Chain.
References: Snopes.com, About.com, TruthOrFiction.com