The organisers of the Oscars have formally apologised to a Native American activist who was heckled and threatened on the awards present virtually half a century in the past.

Throughout what Rolling Stone described because the “now-historic evening” in 1973, Sacheen Littlefeather appeared on stage on the ceremony on behalf of Marlon Brando, to refuse his Finest Actor gong for The Godfather. At his request, she as a substitute used the time “to attract consideration to the stereotyping of Native People in movie and TV”, mentioned the journal.

Her transient speech was “the primary political assertion on the televised ceremony – starting a development which continues to this present day”, mentioned the BBC. However Littlefeather, then 26, was booed by the Oscars viewers, “shunned by the leisure trade”, and later threatened with arrest and bodily assault.

In an interview final 12 months with The Guardian, she mentioned that Hollywood legend John Wayne tried to “forcibly take me off the stage, and he needed to be restrained by six safety males to forestall him from doing so”. And backstage, “there have been folks making stereotypical Native American battle cries at her and miming chopping with a tomahawk”, in accordance with the paper.

In an extra insult, “Littlefeather’s standing as a Native American was known as into query as effectively, as vicious rumours circulated about her id for years”, mentioned CBS Information.

However a long time later, the Academy has lastly issued a press release of apology that might be learn out at an occasion honouring Littlefeather, now 75, on the Academy Museum of Movement Photos in LA in September. The “abuse you endured”  was “unwarranted and unjustified”, mentioned the assertion, and the “emotional burden you’ve lived by way of and the associated fee to your individual profession in our trade are irreparable”.

Littlefeather informed The Hollywood Reporter that “I by no means thought I’d reside to see the day I might be listening to this, experiencing this”. 

She added: “We Indians are very affected person folks  – it is solely been 50 years!”