In 1968, the Vietnam War divided the United States. That year, the late actress/dancer Eartha Kitt lashed out at President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s wife, Lady Bird Johnson, after she was asked about her thoughts on the war.
For varying reasons, the late Muhammad Ali and countless others protested the draft and the need to fight in the Vietnam War. Kitt wasn’t known then as an outspoken figure, but her words to Mrs. Johnson might have derailed her career, if her account is to be believed.
On January 18, 1968, Johnson hosted the Women Doers Luncheon at the White House. She reportedly asked Kitt her thoughts on the war to which she replied, “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. They rebel in the street. They will take pot and they will get high. They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam.”
Kitt has claimed in later interviews that President Johnson blacklisted her and had the CIA spread rumors about her activism and personal activities. The news outlets also covered the verbal clash, for which Kitt drew praise and criticism. Kitt relocated to Europe where and her career continued and flourished, with stops in Asia as well. She made a triumphant return to the United States in 1978 and her career resumed where she left off.
Kitt and Lady Bird Johnson have both spoken about the incident, unsurprisingly, their accounts differ.
(Photo: News Screenshot)