The video resurfaced a day after Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 30, 2022. It has since been updated.
A video of Jane Fonda using sign language during her Oscars acceptance speech after winning Best Actress in 1979 has resurfaced online. The actor has been a champion of inclusivity over the years and people just can't get enough of her stirring message. The video resurfaced a day after Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar. Kotsur was named Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "CODA." Youn Yuh-Jung, who won Best Supporting Actress in 2021, announced the nominees in American Sign Language before announcing Kotsur as the winner.
jane fonda signed her best actress speech in 1979 because the oscars wouldn't offer closed captions. the oscars only started providing closed captions in 2021. pic.twitter.com/BSvofFtdrF— milena (@fondasbian) March 28, 2022
A day after the 94th Oscars, the video of Jane Fonda signing her acceptance speech resurfaced on the internet, garnering more than 268k likes. “I’m signing part of what I’m saying tonight because while we were making the movie, we all became more aware of the problems of the handicapped. Over 14 million people are deaf. They are the invisible handicapped and can’t share this evening, so this is my way of acknowledging them,” said Fonda after winning the Oscar for her performance in "Coming Home," a film about a woman who falls in love with a paralyzed Vietnam war veteran.
"Jane Fonda signed her best actress speech in 1979," read the tweet before falsely claiming that the Oscars only started providing closed captions in 2021. The Academy Awards was the first live program to utilize closed-captioning in 1982, fact-checked Reuters. Jane Fonda has always called for greater representation in Hollywood. At the 2021 Golden Globes, she called for more diversity in story-telling. "In turbulent, crisis-torn times like these, storytelling has always been essential. You see, stories have a way to ... they can change our hearts and our minds. They can help us see each other in a new light. To have empathy. To recognize that, for all our diversity, we are humans first, right?" she said in her speech, reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
"You know, I've seen a lot of diversity in my long life and at times I've been challenged to understand some of the people I've met. But inevitably, if my heart is open, and I look beneath the surface, I feel a kinship," she continued. "Stories: They really, they really can change people. But there's a story we've been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry. A story about which voices we respect and elevate — and which we tune out. A story about who's offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the rooms where decisions are made. So let's all of us — including all the groups that decide who gets hired and what gets made and who wins awards — let's all of us make an effort to expand that tent. So that everyone rises and everyone's story has a chance to be seen and heard."
Fonda has been raging against the system for a long time. She earned the nickname Hanoi Jane for campaigning against the Vietnam War in the 1970s. She also campaigned against the Iraq War in 2003 and is also holds “Fire Drill Fridays” protests to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming. When Kotsur won the Oscar for his performance in "CODA," it was a big win for the deaf community. In his acceptance speech, Kotsur thanked the "wonderful deaf theater stages where I was allowed and given an opportunity to develop my craft as an actor.” Kotsur was aware of the significance of his win. “I just wanted to say that this is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community,” said Kotsur, reported HuffPost. “This is our moment.”