Road Worrier: The latest on Mel Gibson

163952__mel_lI’m not especially interested in what Gibsongate says about Mel himself. I met him once, interviewing him years ago at a press junket, where he hinted at a prankish fratboy sense of humor but was otherwise on his best behavior. I do not profess to know what is in his heart. But I am interested in everyone else’s reaction to this scandal, especially since his drunken outburst seems to have given plenty of bigots permission to come out from under their mossy rocks and post all over the Internet.

The situation raises a number of uncomfortable questions. Why the outrage now over Gibson’s anti-Semitic statements, when pundits and critics seemed willing to overlook or downplay such sentiments two years ago in The Passion of the Christ and in Gibson’s refusal in interviews at the time to disavow his father’s Holocaust-denial ideology? Why the outrage over his drunken, anti-Semitic outburst but not over his long history of homophobic statements made while he was sober? (Similarly, does anti-Semitism trump the sexism of his ”sugar t–s” remark or his dangerous drunk driving?) If showbiz power-brokers follow talent agent Ari Emanuel’s call to blackball Gibson, does that risk creating a backlash by seeming to prove the haters right about what happens when you run afoul of the supposed Hollywood cabal? (Already, ABC has scrapped Gibson’s planned Holocaust miniseries, though the network declined to link its move to Gibson’s scandal.) On the other hand, if Hollywood accepts Gibson’s apologies and agrees to continue working with him (see this statement from Disney exec Oren Aviv, who still plans to release Gibson’s Apocalypto on schedule in December), doesn’t that prove the cynics right that money trumps morality in Hollywood? Can an industry that’s forgiven Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and Victor Salva forgive Gibson? Finally, why didn’t the pals who partied with Gibson at a Malibu nightspot minutes before his arrest put him in a cab?

Fortunately, Gibson has addressed his demons by entering rehab on Monday and by issuing another apology on Tuesday that finally expresses explicit regret for his anti-Semitic remarks. He says he even wants to ”meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.” Whether or not this means Gibson’s heart really is in the right place, the new apology creates an opportunity for both Gibson and his detractors to save face. The sensitivity training Gibson seeks may be personally therapeutic, but to rehabilitate his career in the eyes of Americans who think he’s gone off the deep end, he’ll have to follow his own Via Dolorosa and make a contrition tour with stops along the usual stations (Leno, Oprah, Larry King). Maybe then, everyone can go back to work, and the haters can all crawl back into obscurity.

addCredit(“Mel Gibson: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department/AP”)


Comments (67 total) Add your comment
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  • miles

    All I can say is… Tom Cruise who? this would have been the week when Mission Impossible 3 should have come out… Tom Cruise is off the radar, Mel is ON, and wow, he’s gonna be in my most hated list for a long time… he’ll need to build hospitals, cure a disease and save the planet from an incoming falling meteor before I ever consider going to another one of his films.

  • Ed

    Everyone seems to think that HATE will disappear from this world. Hate will always exist as long as humans roam the Earth.

  • David

    The one thing America loves more than idolizing celebrities is tearing them down. the DUI ill admit is inexcusable and I have no respect for anyone that endangers my family on the road, but come on the guy rambled off some stuff while drunk and all this happens? Let me ask this, if instead of “Jews” he used “Muslims/Arabs” what would the media have done. They probably wouldve given him a medal. (FYI: Islam’s origin is also Semitic, keep that in mind when you cry anti-semite for one religion but completely ignore the latter)

  • Brian

    MILES: Im sure Gibson is going to really miss your $7.50

  • Binky

    Saying stupid stuff when you’re drunk is certainly common, but I don’t think it would ever occur to me, when pulled over for drunk driving, to go on a rant about Jews. I just don’t see it.
    Mel’s anti-semitism is real.
    Would America and the press care as much if it was an anti-Arab or anti-Muslim rant? Probably, but that should shame us, not lessen his shame.
    And while the term ‘Semite’ covers quite a few people, the term anti-semitism is historically a different term. Words have a history and meaning beyond their components parts.

  • Pamela Baran

    It escapes logic that Mr. Gibson’s lapse in judgment or at least in any sense of self-preservation would give any but the most stupid of our society license to express hatred. Even if they cannot see this as a potentially career destroying act of insanity, they can at least see it as a lot of trouble to repair a damaged reputation. To continue down the same destructive path is beyond stupid-maybe insane.

  • Maeve

    Talk about bigots coming out from under mossy rocks, they are right here on the EW message boards (Susie and Patty).
    However, I’m not really going to go on and waste my time typing because EW deleted my comments on the previous Mel Gibson story for no apparent reason and I’m mad at all of you jerks!

  • Chloe

    Oren Aviv is a proffesional
    morality in Hollywood is an oxymoron
    and Gary Susman’s brain is raw, much like his ideas

  • miles

    Brian: 7.50$, what part of the country do you live in NYC is a full Ten. :)

  • miles

    Well, it seems that MEL’s SPIN machine, a team of from the publicity firm of Rogers and Cowan, have told Mr. Gibson that the way to save his career is through: “speed, humility, contrition and personal responsibility.” Those don’t seem to be working, so I as a EW consultant blogger will recommend DENY! DENY! DENY!
    Mel should say that, did not say he hated JEWS, he clearly stated, “I hate the BOOZE”, which is why I am driving to the police station to turn my self in. Because I have been drinking the BOOZE. But if he’s going to spread the hate, he should say that he hates all HUES.
    As a personal Message to Barbara Walters he should say:
    I hate the VIEW.
    He should that didn’t ask the cop are you a “jew”, he simply wondered where his partner was by asking… “don’t you come in two’s?”
    He was not talking about the female cops sugar “t*&s” he was asking her if her sweater was a sugar Knit. after which he said, he he was going to sit, cause he was a little lit. He felt like he was in a pit, and was pretty sure he was getting a zit.
    It’s called SPIN, and his people are not working it fast enough.

  • Jake

    Well, I hate to add fuel to the fire (wait, no I don’t), but let’s not forget that Mel’s unyielding religion not only causes him to hate Jews, but the gays as well. But he’s in enough trouble as it is. I’m just glad that some bigwigs in Hollywood are finally unwilling to tolerate his intolerance.

  • john

    There is no excuse for his behavior, but it seems like Mel is taking some good steps toward recovery. Give the man a break, his life is his punishment.

  • Maeve

    Miles…that was pretty funny!

  • miles

    wow, look at the hate coming out of Jennifer… I blame it on self-esteem issues (Jennifer it’s the carbs that give you that shape. Just learn to say no), probably a poor social circle and a botched labatomy. So much hate to spread around… hmmm, I also bet she’s a christian.

  • miles

    Everyone seems to be concentrating on the vile coming out of his mouth, so, the fact that he was driving 42 miles per hour, DRUNK, doesn’t seem to sink in, so here are some facts about drunk driving from
    Forty-one percent of 1,672 motorcycle operators who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2004 had BAC levels of .08 g/dl or higher. Sixty percent of those killed in single-vehicle crashes on weekend nights had BAC levels of .08 g/dl or higher. (NHTSA, 2005 )
    The majority of those who reported alcohol-related DUI in the 12 months prior to a national survey are not alcohol dependent or alcohol abusers. In 2000, 37% of the Blacks, 38% of the Hispanics, 29% of Whites, 44% of the Native Americans/Alaskan Natives, 39% of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, 22% of the Asians and 28% of those of Mixed race who report committing DUI in the past year are alcohol abusers or dependent; all the others who drove under the influence are not. (Caetano and McGrath, 2005)
    Beer is the drink of choice in most cases of heavy drinking, binge drinking, drunk driving and underage drinking. (Rogers and Greenfield, 1999)
    There is evidence that heavier drinkers prefer to drink at bars and other person’s homes, and at multiple locations requiring longer driver distances. Young drivers have been found to prefer drinking at private parties, while older, more educated drivers prefer bars and taverns. (NHTSA, 2001)
    In 2004, 30 percent of all fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-related, compared to 51 percent on weekends. For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate was 5 percent during the week and 12 percent during the weekend. (NHTSA, 2005)
    For fatal crashes occurring from midnight to 3:00 AM, 77 percent involved alcohol in 2003. The next most dangerous time period for alcohol-related crash deaths were 9 PM to midnight (64 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol), followed by 3 AM to 6 AM (60 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol). (NHTSA, 2004)
    A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 72-proof distilled spirits, all of which contain the same amount of alcohol — about .54 ounces. (NHTSA, 2002)
    The speed of alcohol absorption affects the rate at which one becomes drunk. Unlike foods, alcohol does not have to be slowly digested. As a person drinks faster than the alcohol can be eliminated, the drug accumulates in the body, resulting in higher and higher levels of alcohol in the blood. (Narcotic Education Foundation of America, 2002)
    The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is more than 3 times as high at night as during the day (60 percent vs. 18 percent). For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate is 5 times as high at night (16 percent vs. 3 percent). (NHTSA, 2005)
    The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour. Only time will sober a person up. Drinking strong coffee, exercising or taking a cold shower will not help. (Michigan State University, 2002)
    Impairment is not determined by the type of drink, but rather by the amount of alcohol ingested over a specific period of time. (IIHS, June 2003)
    The impact of alcohol involvement increases with injury severity. Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for 10 percent of property damage only crash costs, 21 percent of nonfatal injury crashes; and 46 percent of fatal injury crash costs. (NHTSA, 2002)
    Alcohol-related fatalities are caused primarily by the consumption of beer (80 percent) followed by liquor/wine at 20 percent. (Runge, 2002)
    Beer is the drink most commonly consumed by people stopped for alcohol-impaired driving or involved in alcohol-related crashes. (IIHS, 2003)
    Alcohol is society’s legal, oldest and most popular drug. (Narcotic Educational Foundation of America, 2002)
    Alcohol is closely linked with violence. About 40 percent of all crimes (violent and non-violent) are committed under the influence of alcohol. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998)
    About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives. (NHTSA, 2001)

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