‘In Life, You’ve Got to Stand for Something’: Vet Refuses to Show ‘The Butler’ at His Movie Theater

A Korean War veteran who has owned a movie theater in central Kentucky for more than three decades is refusing to run “The Butler” due to the anti-Vietnam War stance of one of its lead actresses.

Ike Boutwell, who opened MoviePalace and Showtime Cinemas in Elizabethtown in the 1980s, told the News-Enterprise that in all these years he has not, to his knowledge, let one movie with Jane Fonda play in his theater.

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Boutwell, who owns MoviePalace, trained pilots for the Vietnam War, and said he considers Fonda a traitor for some of her demonstrations. (Photo: MoviePalace/Facebook)

The actress, who was an outspoken opponent of the conflict, stars in “Lee Daniels’ the Butler” as Nancy Reagan. The film, which opened with more than $24.6 million in its first week, is a biopic of a White House butler who served eight presidents.

Boutwell considers Fonda a traitor for her statements and demonstrations against the Vietnam War, leading him to ban films in which she appears from his theater.

“I trained hundreds of pilots to fly, many of whom Ms. Fonda clapped and cheered as they were shot down,” the former Marine said of the pilots he trained to fly in Vietnam because he was considered too old at that point to serve himself, the News-Enterprise reported.

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In this April 2, 1973 file photo, actress Jane Fonda holds her arm up in the air as she joins a group of anti-war demonstrators on a march toward the Western White House to protest the visit of South Vietnam’s President Nguyen Van Thieu in San Clemente, Calif. (Photo: AP/Harold Filan, File)

Boutwell expressed his disagreement over Fonda’s casting as the former first lady as well.

“To add to this, I just really think it’s a slap in the face to have a person of treason portray a patriotic lady, Mrs. Reagan,” he said. “I just think that is throwing gas on the fire.”

Although Boutwell told the News-Enterprise he hasn’t received any complaints, the newspaper reported at least one customer who showed up at the theater without looking up movie times beforehand being surprised and thinking it a poor business decision that he wasn’t airing the flick.

“In life, you’ve got to stand for something, and that’s where I stand,” Boutwell told the newspaper. “It makes me feel that I’m honoring those who died for this country.”

Others have been supporting Boutwell’s decision on his movie theater’s Facebook page as well.

movie theater support
A few comments on the theater’s Facebook page, showing support for the owner’s decision not to air “The Butler” because it features Jane Fonda. (Image via MoviePalace Facebook)

This isn’t the first time Fonda has been slighted due to her anti-war past either. In 2011, a special on QVC promoting her book “Prime Time” was canceled. The actress said was because of her political past but the network claimed it was a routine change to programming.

In addition to Fonda, other stars in “The Butler” include Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams and Oprah Winfrey.

Here’s the trailer for the film:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.