I was riding down Broad Street the other day, in a car with the radio tuned to WHYY. While not my favorite station, I do enjoy listening to Cherri Gregg for local news, and the syndicated program “1A,” the closest thing they have to a more moderate, middle-of-the-road take on issues. It was their fund drive, the one that seems like a daily ritual but which I am told only happens a few times a year. (Could have fooled me — I have nightmares where Terry Gross screams at me because I made the station miss their matching pledge of $10,000).

None of this is particularly interesting, I know. But the thing that caught my attention — and my sense of irony — was the advertisement for a Speaker’s Series coming to Philadelphia. As we were driving by the Union League, I heard the name “Jane Fonda” mentioned as one of the anticipated speakers. And I smirked, which the driver noticed.

He asked me why my lips were twisted into a very good approximation of the center part of a Philly soft pretzel, and I told him I found it rich that Jane Fonda was being given a platform to speak about anything. He asked why I had a problem with an 83-year-old woman who had already apologized for that dust-up on the Viet Cong rocket launcher ages ago. Now, he said, isn’t she just the lady who married Lily Tomlin and overdid the Botox?

READ MORE — Albert Eisenberg: The unbearable lightness of Helen Gym

And as I looked out my window at the façade of the magnificent Union League, I said: “That 83-year-old woman just told the world that pro-life Republican politicians should be murdered. And she meant it.” 

Then I thought, what would have happened if a pro-life Republican politician like, say, Ron DeSantis had made a similar comment about trans politicians, saying all men who identify as women should be murdered, and I knew exactly what would have transpired: he would have been the subject of massive protests.

Then again, that’s already happened. A few months ago, the very photogenic governor of Florida was honored at the Union League with their highest prize, the Lincoln Award. There was a reception, DeSantis gave a nice speech, and the city erupted into hysteria. There were protests outside the building; there were op-eds written about how he was trying to destroy teachers’ lives, children’s lives, LGBT lives, and school librarians’ lives. These protests were organized and supported by the type of person who goes to the Union League to scout for money for their mayoral campaigns — a person like Helen Gym.

Which brings me back to Hanoi Jane. Ted Turner’s (and Tom Hayden’s, and Roger Vadim’s) former wife has thrown her support behind the former city councilwoman’s bid for Philadelphia mayor. She apparently likes Gym’s position on climate change. I suppose it makes sense that an 83-year-old woman with a lot of synthetic substances in her face would harbor some hostility toward warmer temperatures, because who knows what happens when collagen and Juvéderm hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It might not be so pretty.

But seriously, the reason Jane has decided to root for Helen is because they both support radical causes. Jane opposes most abortion restrictions, most restrictions on supplying “gender affirming care” to adolescents, most forms of incandescent lighting (which really is an 83-year-old’s best friend), and pretty much everything that makes one a moderate and inoffensive human being. Jane hates Republicans, conservatives, and anyone who disagrees with her.

What would have happened if a pro-life Republican politician like, say, Ron DeSantis had made a similar comment about trans politicians, saying all men who identify as women should be murdered?

I’m wondering if any of the people who disagree with her are willing to stage a protest outside the Free Library when she comes to speak on October 2 at the Kimmel Center as part of the aforementioned Speaker Series. I’m wondering if any of my conservative Republican friends who have a target on our backs because Henry’s daughter thinks the politicians we vote for should be murdered will organize a nice welcoming committee for the Oscar-winner-turned-terrorist-facilitator-turned-aerobics-instructor-turned-geriatric Greta Thunberg. I’m willing to put together a group of like-minded men and women who would love to tell Jane Fonda exactly what we think of her.

Of course, Philadelphia doesn’t usually allow liberal icons to be heckled and harassed. We only seem to gather outside of venerable historic venues and shout obscenities at duly elected politicians who are trying to protect children from being exploited by adults with an agenda. We only seem to want to drown out the words of pro-life politicians who have so far managed to avoid Jane Fonda’s fatwa.

Oh, yeah, and we seem willing to forgive the hypocrisy of mayoral candidates who do the Eva Perón “I’m for the poor people” shtick on the campaign trail while loading up on crudités and Chablis at the Union League, and hoping no one notices.

We noticed, Helen.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

20 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Helen Gym, Jane Fonda, and the media’s double standards”

  1. Nailed it as usual Christine. The sanctimony if these intellectual hippocrites is nauseating. How full of themselves. Btw, regarding the famous photo of Hanoi Jane on the anti aircraft rocket launcher, it belonged to the North Vietnamese Army. The picture was taken in North Vietnam., the uniformed crew members surrounding her all NVRA. Years later, still rocked by the intense ill will she drew from that photo, she rather lamely claimed that the photo wasn’t about killing American pilots, but a protest against the civilian food shortages brought on by the bombing. “Humanitarian” protest you see..

  2. Jane Fonda wasn’t the one who said, “I only like the Vietnam veterans who weren’t POW’s” …… that was the draft dodger who Christine Flowers happily voted for twice. Her fake outrage over Jane Fonda is just that. Cherry picked fake outrage. Jane Fonda is the patriot of the century over Trump who attacked our country because he couldn’t win an election. And he HATED our Veteran vets and never missed an opportunity to tell them.

    1. “Draft dodger” who Chrisintine voted for twice. Who are you referring to? Mayor Rizzo?? Sincere question….

  3. You understand nothing about Fonda (or liberals for that matter) and you prove it every time you contort yourself into the fake outrage that has become your trademark. To make matters worse is your attempt at wit with your hackneyed humor that would only appeal to the dullest of mind. (Your typical follower) You are to humor what Lawrence Welk was to music. Stick to the moronic selfies and the singing videos that you think make you seem cute. Better yet, stay home and say the rosary over and over in private and keep pretending that there is a god that hears and cares about you.

    1. “Say the rosary over and over again and pretend there is a (g)od that cares for you.” Wow. Where did all that come from?

  4. The second comment to this column arguably proved Ms Flowers correct. I have observed that the only defense that some people can muster is to insult the author – and their readers. The formula for these folks is quite predictable:

    “You don’t understand” + “you are stupid (and other insults)” + “So are your followers/readers” = Nothing of value to add to any serious conversation.

    Kudos to Broad and Liberty, however, for allowing the comment to be posted anyway, regardless of its vapid value with regards to serious discussion.

  5. Wow Margaret, it is no easy feat to disparage all people of faith in one short comment, but you nailed it. Anyway, as Jane Fonda’s defender you must be aware of what she did to a POW while sojourning in Hanoi. One tried to slip her a message while touring the POW compound, which she promptly turned over to the North Vietnamese. You can rest assured they did not assign the POW to write 100 times on a blackboard: “I will not pass notes to visitors.” I often wondered if she knew what would happen and didn’t care or was just oblivious. I come down on didn’t care. Over the years I watched and read of her positions on various social issues, and I can’t find any significant changes due to her efforts. The continuing bad treatment of women in certain societies, the ever-increasing scourge of human trafficking both cries out, but we hear from her on the so-called right to kill a human life (at what age does the right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” apply? Anyway, I put her ranting in the category of “sound and fury, that signifies nothing.”

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Vietnam veteran, and I still remember how I and my brother veterans were treated at the urging of Jane and her ilk.

    1. The story of her passing along a note from a POW has long been debunked. Promoting that story alone negates any chance that you should be listened to or taken seriously. If you can’t do the most rudimentary research before spouting off, you have zero credibility. It does however, make you a typical Christine Flowers follower. You are EXACTLY who she wants in her corner to preach to and defend her.

    2. The continuing bad treatment of women has nothing to do with Jane Fonda and has everything to do with lack of accountability of men like you. Not that long ago women who were raped were challenged in court as to whether their clothing, underwear, or perfume provoked these attacks. Men like Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby were protected by their image. Men lower down on the ladder were protected because of of their gender.
      No one person can affect this change, many people have made change.

  6. On her Twitter page, Flowers not only mentions me (Thanks for the promo!) but goes on to promote the lie that Fonda passed a note from an American POW to the Viet Cong. This is the typical kind of garbage that Right wing, hate based, idiots love to toss around just to further their cause. The most basic Google search is out of the question. The truth is barely a distant 2nd place to insuring their hatred continues in perpetuity. Flowers, as expected, falls right into the category. Christine, it’s no wonder that you are relegated to the furthest outer boundaries of media. You should be massively grateful that you’re published by anyone. I can’t imagine what it will be like one day when you are sitting in your wheelchair lamenting at the years of hatred and lies that you have pushed.

      1. What Fonda did was wrong. She apologized for it long ago. Being a celebrity puts her in the spotlight for anything she may do wrong. So it’s easy to say that in her 80+ years she hasn’t done anywhere near as many wrong, immoral or hateful things as you have in your 62 years. It’s also funny that you think you “shamed me into silence” as you say on your pathetic Twitter page. I promise I will never back down from wannabe bullies like you. You may even think you’re clever posting my email address and IP address as a dog whistle to the knuckle dragging part of your “base” in hopes they would harass me (or worse.) Kudos to Broad and Liberty for making you take it down. I assure you, that won’t get resolved as easily the next time. I can’t figure what happened to you in your 62 years on earth to make you so hostile, bitter and hateful that you routinely resort to adolescent sniping instead of thoughtful, lettered debate but I suppose you realize there’s an audience for everything. Pitiful, really.

        1. Well it looks to most of us here that you are working very hard for your “15 minutes of fame”. Instead of offering reasoned positions your comments are laced with vitriol and you just are painted with a very wide mean streak.

    1. “Sitting in your wheelchair lamenting at the years of hatred and lies..etc” Look up the meaning of the word “projection.”

  7. Once a day I look at my navel and chant: “Whatever you see on the internet is TRUE! Whatever you find on Google is WISDOM! whatever the government tells you to do is good for you and medicine, when coupled with Pharmacopia, are noble professions.”

  8. Anyone else remember when authoritarian/fascist Helen Gym threatened a food truck owner? https://www.cbsnews.com/philadelphia/news/food-truck-owner-city-councilwoman-threatened/ and https://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/10/06/racist-food-truck-wheely-wheely-good-helen-gym/ This was while Gym was in her position of power on City Council, threatening to shut them down via L&I because she was micro-offended by what is arguably a very tasteful (no pun intended) food truck designed and owned by Asian Americans themselves.

  9. I’m sounding the alarm on Helen Gym- if you want even more crime and degeneration of this city, vote for her. She is as EXTREMIST as they get and has carried water for Krasner and his destructive policies for years now. Her track record shows she is very far out on the political spectrum. The only two moderates running in the primary appear to be Rebecca Rhynhart and Allan Domb. Sadly, I can’t vote in the primaries as a political independent, but encourage everyone who can to NOT vote for her if you care about this city as much as I do. https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/helen-gym-hypocrite/

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