A Native perspective on ‘Cowboys and Findians’
‘The Dudesons’ controversial episode on MTV
By Vincent Schilling
“I had no reason to believe that this role and the episode would cause for such controversy,” he said. “When I met with the producers, we discussed several issues and concerns. Many situations were written out or re-worded. However, as many actors and those in the industry know, including those who have spoken out against me, we can make suggestions and ask for changes as much as we want, however, the creative control is often out of our hands. We often have to hope for the best.”
Though Grant admits he had little control over the script, the flood of comments online equated to a “smear campaign” according to Michelle Shining Elk, Grant’s publicist and owner of Shining Elk Entertainment.
“It irritates me that the people who started the smear campaign had one objective: To assassinate one man’s character. Saginaw is an elder with a long history of living his life as a traditional Indian man. He has lived far longer than literally 90 percent of us and as such has endured so much more in his life, good and bad, that most of us will never experience. Not one of us has walked in his shoes, not one of us has seen the life he has seen. Who are we to judge?”
Grant claims the episode was worse before he offered his advice. That suggests one solution: Don't take the job if it's one of the most racist depictions of Indians ever, genius. Your paltry salary isn't worth the harm you'll cause your own people.
Not only could Grant have skipped the production, he could've quit it or halted it halfway through. He also could've protested the final show if it somehow surprised him. He didn't do any of these things. In fact, he defended it as if he was unaware of its obvious offenses.
Later in the article, Grant is quoted saying, "I did not even know about the script." But he also said, "We discussed several issues and concerns. Many situations were written out or re-worded." How do you reword or rewrite the script when you don't know anything about it? Sounds like Grant is dissembling to me.
As for Michelle Shining Elk, she still seems clueless about the difference between criticizing the Dudesons and criticizing Grant. I've done the latter as well as the former, but most activists have stuck to blaming MTV and the Finns. But Grant is now one of Shining Elk's PR clients, so that may explain why she's still shilling for him. You can't bite the hand that feeds you, right?
For more on the subject, see MTV Pulls Dudesons Episode and AIM Threatens to Sue MTV.
P.S. This article is also notable for quoting me. But you'll have to read it to see what I said.
Below: "Follow the script that I helped rewrite but didn't know anything about."