The Totally Fake Crying Indian Ad That Fooled Us All!

19 Feb

11x17-Fu-Manchu-for-Mayor-Poster-Art-thumbnailI just did a post about the old 1965 Fu Manchu for Mayor poster and got lost on a tangent that lead me here…

jerry lewis hardly working asian portrayalAh yes – those were the days – when just about anybody could land a part as a character of Asian ancestry and Italian-Americans were hired to play Native Americans! See this article about faux-Asians in the Village Voice.

Somehow that lead me here:

I stumbled upon this Smithsonian article about the iconic 1970s “Crying Indian” ad that, well, apparently fooled everybody!!

iron-eyes-codyLooks like that ad was not so much about taking care of the earth as it was an attempt to get everybody to keep on trashing it. Contrary to appearances it was not created by a bunch of tree huggers and a bonafide representative of genuine stewards of the land… No! It was an Italian-American actor being paid by the beverage industry to keep reusable containers from becoming mandatory!

The real purpose of that damn ad:

The Crying Indian ad was the beverage industry, the one currently ruining everybody’s health with sugared-up salty beverages, attempting to convince everybody to view the rising mountain of trash from single-use containers as the fault of the consumer – not the industry behind it.

W. T. F.

Gets even worse:

And in a crazy side note to all that it seems that “Iron Eyes Cody” (née Espera Oscar de Corti of Sicilian and Italian parentage) went so far as to “live” as a stereotypical Native American – wearing fringed leather clothing, beaded moccasins, and a braided wig as everyday attire. The heritage of his parents and his birthplace (St. Louis) changing from time to time to more authentic press-worthy Cree, Cherokee, and probably some kinda goddamn teepee. (Sorry – I’m pissed that everybody was fooled).

lawesterners dot org iron eyes cody

Here’s a 1951 photo of him (from looking decidedly not of his adopted heritage.

And below, a photo of an actual member of the Cree peoples (from Wikipedia) looking pretty damned un-European. I mean, it’s pretty broadly accepted that the migration of people from Asia populated this continent before Italians arrived on sailboats – so Mr. de Corti (“Corti” = “Cody” – and Cody = Wild West or something?) passing himself off as such when all he had was maybe the black hair – and maybe went to a tanning salon…? Googling average height of Native Americans puts them at 5′ 8″ while a photo of Iron Eyes next to 5′ 10″ Jimmy Carter shows him out-heighting the former president by a good 3 inches.

It never fails to amaze me how far industry will go to make more, more, more money. How do they sleep at night? I hope their kids all grow up to be mindless jerks because of all the cash they’ll inherit.

(sorry – did not mean this to be a bitch-fest about Italy – just about Espera Oscar de Corti pretending he wasn’t of Italian heritage and fooling us for an industry that to this day is littering the planet with their crap. Grrrr!!)


“The truth about the so-called “face of Native Americans” was revealed, and later picked up by news outlets across the nation, in 1996 in an article published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. In the piece, his Sicilian ancestry was exposed and the claim supported with, among other things, his baptism record, birth certificate, various family documents and photographs, and an interview with his sister, Mae Abshire Duhon, who stated, “He just left, and the next thing we heard was that he had turned Indian.”


As for Cody, he wrote, “My foremost endeavors have been with the help of the Great Spirit to dignify my People’s image through humility and love of my country. If I have done that, then I have done all I need to do…”

In that Getty Images photo: dude – what’s all that “Indian” stuff hanging up behind you? Are you in the freaking wardrobe room??? Inducting a Chinese actress into a tribe you don’t belong to?!?!?!

I wouldn’t be quite so pissed if he hadn’t screwed us over for the beverage industry!



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