When Jane Fonda announced she was diagnosed with a “very treatable” cancer, she blamed the illness on “fossil fuels.” That’s when she got torched on social media.
Actress Jane Fonda, who’s become known as a “climate change” activist in recent years, revealed she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which she called “very treatable.” However, the actress sparked controversy with her political remarks regarding the diagnosis, even going so far as to blame the illness on fossil fuels.
“This is a very treatable cancer,” Fonda said. “Eighty percent of people survive, so I feel very lucky.” She also felt fortunate for having “health insurance and access to the best doctors and treatments” and said it was “painful” to realize she was “privileged” in this. “Almost every family in America has had to deal with cancer at one time or another and far too many don’t have access to the quality health care I am receiving and this is not right,” she said.
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The Grace and Frankie star then said that there had been too much discussion about cancer cures and not enough about causes. “We also need to be talking much more not just about cures, but about causes so we can eliminate them,” Fonda declared. “For example, people need to know that fossil fuels cause cancer. So do pesticides, many of which are fossil fuel-based, like mine. Believe me, I will not let any of this interfere with my climate activism,” she continued.
“It was not clear what Fonda meant when referring to some pesticides as ‘mine,’” Newsweek reported. “Some studies have linked certain pesticides to cancer, particularly for those exposed to the chemicals through occupations like farming, although evidence has not conclusively shown that they are a major cause of the illness.”
According to medical research, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is caused by a change (mutation) in the DNA of a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes, but the exact reason why this happens isn’t known. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can occur at any age, but the risk increases with age. It’s most common in people 60 or over.
Fonda’s remarks concerning “fossil fuels” caused quite a bit of a backlash on social media. “The life she has lived and the treatment she seeks are courtesy of innovation powered by fossil fuels,” wrote one Twitter user as another remarked, “Fonda:…people need to know that fossil fuels cause cancer.…nearly all of the equipment used to save her life will be built from plastics which are derived from fossil fuels.”
Many others echoed similar sentiments. “Jane, I’m sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis as I was diagnosed with NHL Follicular B over a decade ago,” Stephan Adrian wrote on Twitter. “[B]ut please, please don’t use that as a political tool and state that fossil fuels are the basis of the cancer. You are misinformed. I wish you a speedy recovery.”
Some took issue with the definition of “fossil fuels,” like Mark Brown. “Fossil Fuel is a made-up term,” he wrote. “The good Lord put the oil in the earth. You can believe what you want, but tell fossil Fonda there are different levels of hell for a reason.”
Then, there was a staff writer for the New York Daily News, who wrote, “Jane Fonda has Hodgkin’s lymphoma — a cancer of the white blood cells — and is using her diagnosis to draw attention to her political activism on fossil fuels.” The backlash didn’t end there.
“I guess she found the cure,” Caleb Abell remarked. “Let’s get rid of fossil fuels so folks don’t have to worry about cancer while they are unemployed, broke, and their homes are freezing. And to make it even better let’s get rid of pesticides so no one has to worry about cancer because they are worrying more about the fact that they no longer can afford food.”
The harsh criticisms aren’t a first for Jane Fonda. Many remain upset at Fonda over her activism during the Vietnam War, specifically when she visited the North Vietnamese and took photos with them. “As much as I detest this poor excuse for a human. I will not wish her any ill will,” Mike G. wrote. “She will answer soon enough to a higher power for the treasonous actions she took and for the resulting brutality the POW’s endured for her treachery.”
In 2020, Jane Fonda made allegations about climate change on the Stephen Colbert Show. “The scientists are saying we have ten years before it’s going to be so far over the cliff that there’s no turning back,” she said. “The environment and climate will unravel and there’s nothing we can do.” Fonda then claimed that “extinction illness” affected young students. “[T]here were all of these young students who were sacrificing a lot and working so hard,” she said. “And I’ve spent a lot of time, now, with these young students, and they’re scared, and a lot of young people are even suffering from — they’re calling it extinction illness — and I just felt it wasn’t doing enough.”