More Distancing Themselves From Mel Gibson

There’s more signs that people are distancing themselves from Mel Gibson after his recent anti-Semitic tirade. Disney and ABC previously cancelled plans to air his planned miniseries on the Holocaust but planned to continue to distribute his movie Apocalypto. Now there are reports that Disney is looking for a new distributor for Gibson’s latest movie. Out in California, Tom McClintock, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor plans to stop using a fund-raising letter written by Gibson.

I’ll repost my earlier stories on Mel Gibson, including those which were found objectionable for criticizing Gibson at The Democratic Daily, plus a round-up of comments from around the blogosphere, under the fold.

Mel Gibson Outed as Moron

Posted by Ron Chusid
December 29th, 2005 @ 8:35 am

Just when I found the amount of ignorance in the world has decreased, I found more evidence of how severe the problem has been. At very least it is evidence that some actors should keep their mouths shut about science and politics. The Lippard Blog has posted some exerts from a 1995 interview with Playboy which shows that Mel Gibson was one ignorant moron. Let’s hope that his views have changed over time. At least he’s not as dumb as Britney Spears who appears to be no smarter than when she advised us that “we should just trust our president in every decision he makes.”

Mel Gibson Goes on Anti-Semitic Tirade

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 29th, 2006 @ 10:53 am

I’ve noted Mel Gibson’s propensity to say very dumb things in the past. Movie news site, shows Gibson, long suspected of anti-semitism, has out done himself when detained for drunk driving:

TMZ has learned that Mel Gibson went on a rampage when he was arrested Friday on suspicion of drunk driving, hurling religious epithets. TMZ has also learned that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department had the initial report doctored to keep the real story under wraps. . .

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, “You mother f****r. I’m going to f*** you.” The report also says “Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he ‘owns Malibu’ and will spend all of his money to ‘get even’ with me.”

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: “F*****g Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson then asked the deputy, “Are you a Jew?”

Andrew Sullivan writes that “Either this is an extremely elaborate hoax or it’s the end of Gibson’s career.” Some conservatives are worried about guilt by association. Outside the Beltway writes:

Don’t get me wrong, if this report is true (and I have no reason to doubt that it isn’t), then Mel Gibson is a total scumbag. But the implication that Christians that liked The Passion are now somehow guilty by association is just as ludicrous as making the same argument about people whom liked Braveheart and Lethal Weapon.

ADL Rejects Mel Gibson’s Apology: Segments of Left and Right United

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 31st, 2006 @ 12:38 pm

The Anti-Defamation League has rejected Mel Gibson’s apology for his anti-semitic remarks over the weekend:

Mel Gibson’s apology is unremorseful and insufficient. It’s not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism.

His tirade finally reveals his true self and shows that his protestations during the debate over his film “The Passion of the Christ,” that he is such a tolerant, loving person, were a sham. It may well be that the bigotry has been passed from the father to the son. It is unfortunate that it took an excess of booze and an encounter with a police officer to reveal what was really in his heart and mind.

We would hope that Hollywood now would realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from this anti-Semite.

This event has led to an unusual degree of agreement among bloggers on the left and right. At Huffington Post, Ari Emanuel writes:

Now we know the truth. And no amount of publicist-approved contrition can paper it over. People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line.

There are times in history when standing up against bigotry and racism is more important than money.

Debbie Schlussel has a more direct characterization for what Emanuel refers to as “publicist-approved contrition” today:

Now, comes Mel Gibson’s “apology,” now that he is sober and his inhibitions are once again in place. (We heard what he really thinks about Jews, when the alcohol made his thoughts flow free, without any publicist handlers nearby to cleanse them.)

While Gibson specifically apologizes to the cops who arrested him– including presumably “sugar-t-ts” (though he doesn’t mention her by “name”)–he does not apologize to the Jewish people he defamed and attacked at a time when anti-Semitism is at its highest post-World War II levels. It’s not an accidental omission. It’s a glaring and deliberate one. Mel Gibson owes me and every other Jew in the world a specific apology. Don’t hold your breath to hear one, though.

For his “Passion” days a few years ago, Gibson employed publicist/spokesman Alan Nierob–constantly trotted out Nierob’s status as a Jew and the son of Holocaust survivors. Now, he’s trotting out Nierob, again, as his own personal, high-paid apologist. On Detroit’s Eight Mile Road, they have another world for it, and the women get paid less per hour or “act.”

Is anyone buying Gibson’s “apology”? If you are, I have some land in ancient Israel to sell you. “Sugar-t-ts” not included.

While Schlussel looks down on those who buy Gibson’s apology, The Talent Show expresses similar opinions for some viewers of his most controversial movie. “One of the biggest movies ever made was just an excuse for its crazy filmmaker to blame Jews for killing Jesus and the whole damn world fell for it.” also reports that “Mel Gibson has been stopped for reckless driving two other times in Malibu but he was allowed to leave without a ticket or arrest.”

Update: Christopher Hitchens provides further background in Slate writing that Gibson “is sick to his empty core with Jew-hatred.”

Arianna Huffington writes:

Gibson’s no-longer-deniable brand of bigotry has led to the extermination of millions — and continues to fuel much of the strife and suffering in the world today. Which is why Hollywood cannot sit this one out and wait for the reviews to come in.

For years, social conservatives have questioned the morals and ethics of the entertainment community — tossing around the shibboleth of “Hollywood values” as an oxymoronic grenade in the culture wars. Well, now is the time for Hollywood to show what those values really are by making Gibson pay the price for his bigotry and intolerance.

For starters, the town’s power players need to step up and publicly condemn Gibson’s vile comments (in effect, saying in public what they are already saying in private conversations I and many others have had). I mean, it shouldn’t be so hard to publicly denounce someone — even an Oscar-winner — for being a raging anti-Semite.

Update 2: ABC has cancelled plans for Gibson’s miniseries on the Holocaust.

ABC Cancels Gibson’s Holocaust Miniseries

Posted by Ron Chusid
July 31st, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports that ABC has “pulled the plug on a miniseries about the Holocaust that it was developing with Mel Gibson’s production company, after the actor allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks when he was arrested last week on suspicion of drunken driving.”

The miniseries has long been remarkably controversial for a show in which there has yet to be a script available in light of Mel Gibson’s connection with anti-Semitism (discussed earlier here and here) and his father’s activities as a Holocaust-denier. While in the past many have ignored Gibson’s anti-Semitism and other extremist views, the events of last weekend have made his prejudices much harder to ignore. This has also led to many critical comments in the blogoshere (some linked in my previous posts) and examinations of his previous behavior such as in an article yesterday by Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens in Slate.

While it remains too early to predict the ultimate effect on Gibson, some have predicted that this could destroy his career. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “His conduct prompted criticism from Jewish groups and Hollywood executives, with one prominent agent calling for a boycott of the actor and director.”

Gibson’s Second Apology

Posted by Ron Chusid
August 1st, 2006 @ 10:54 am

Mel Gibson has issued a second apology for his statements over the weekend, this time addressing his anti-Semitism after dodging the issue in his first apology.

There’s both the personal level to this and the issues of his beliefs. On a personal level I would like to see Gibson receive any assistance in his recovery. Gibson has requested to meet with leaders of the Jewish community and perhaps this would be of value to increase understanding.

This does not mean that his long standing hatred expressed towards Jews, homosexuals, and women is instantly forgotten. To allow an apology to wipe away what was said just acts to enable such hatred. These are not just the vicious words from one drunken episode but the vicious words of someone with a long history of expressing extremism, hatred, and intolerance. Having a much better worded statement drafted when his initial apology was severely lacking raises questions of this being damage control rather than true remorse or a change in views.

This is not something which can disappear with a simple apology. We will need to see over time if there is evidence that Gibson has truly changed his views. Perhaps one answer will be the next time he is asked about his father’s views on the Holocaust. His apology will be much more convincing if he expresses disagreement with his father’s views on the Holocaust when this comes up. (At very least it will be an improvement if Gibson does not threaten to kill any person, and their dog, who should express disagreement with his father’s views as Frank Rich has.)

Gibson’s anti-Semitism is also part of an overall pattern of hatred and extremism and his apology will be more convincing if he changes the manner in which he speaks about homosexuals and women as well as Jews. Glimpses of Gibson’s extremist views have often come out in interviews and public statements. While there is no way to know if a lack of such comments in the future represents a true change in beliefs or improved public relations, hearing expressions of greater tolerance in place of hatred in future interviews would be a welcome change.

Update: Opinions around the Blogosphere

“A moment of insanity? Nice try. Normally when people get drunk, their honest thoughts come out, not some crazy shit they’ve never thought before. I’ve never said, “Man, George Bush is a great president!” after a couple of martinis.” –Shakespeare’s Sister

“In words that I am sure will spark comparisons to Richard Nixon’s declaration “I am not a crook,” [and O.J. Simpson’s search for the “real killer”] Mel Gibson has proclaimed that he is not an anti-Semite.” –Outside the Beltway

“He plays the “recovery” card. If Gibson had merely had a DUI and needed help, this would be a non-issue. It would be a non-story. I’m not interested in hounding human beings for their personal demons. We all have them. We have all behaved in ways we regret at times. I sure have. People with addictions struggle every day for sobriety in ways everyone should support. Similarly, as someone with intimate understanding of bi-polar disorder (my mother has endured this affliction for decades), I can only say that anyone suffering from that awful disease merits our love, support and medical help. This applies to Gibson as much as anyone. But that is not the issue here. The issue is his anti-Semitism, his marketing of a profoundly anti-Semitic movie, and, above all, his refusal to disavow his father’s own Holocaust denial.” –Andrew Sullivan

Best comment I missed over the weekend before the second apology (which still holds):

The best case that can be made for Gibson’s belief system now is that he’s anti-Semitic only when he’s three sheets to the wind. And really, now. Are you in the habit of declaring, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” when you get pie-eyed? Or simply of muttering, “F**king Jews”? Or of asking your arresting officer, “Are you a Jew?” (Here Gibson revealed an anti-Jewish bigotry so all-consuming that he couldn’t even get his ethnic stereotypes straight. The Jews control international banking, Mel. It’s the Irish who control the police.) –Slate

ADL Accepts Gibson’s Second Apology

Posted on Wed Aug 2nd, 2006 at 02:37:35 AM EST

The Anti-Defamation League has accepted Mel Gibson’s second apology, and hopes to help him combat his “disease of prejudice” after he completes his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse:

This is the apology we had sought and requested. We are glad that Mel Gibson has finally owned up to the fact that he made anti-Semitic remarks, and his apology sounds sincere. We welcome his efforts to repair the damage he has caused, to reach out to the Jewish community, and to seek help.

Once he completes his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, we will be ready and willing to help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice.

Glenn Greenwald Reports Conservatives Repudiate Gibson–Declare Him a Closet Liberal

Posted on Wed Aug 2nd, 2006 at 10:50:06 AM EST

I’ve noted in my previous posts on Mel Gibson that most blogs of both the left and right which have commented on this have condemned Gibson. Glenn Greenwald finds an amusing take on this. In previous posts Greenwald has noted the tendency of conservatives to consider those with any faults to be liberals. He quotes Digby on this tendency as saying, “There is no such thing as a bad conservative. ‘Conservative’ is a magic word that applies to those who are in other conservatives’ good graces. Until they aren’t. At which point they are liberals.”Greenwald believes this now applies to Mel Gibson as he quotes one conservative author as claiming Gibson is really a liberal. So far it appears that this is an isolated attempt by a conservative to disassociate themselves from Gibson now that his extremism and hatred can no longer be denied. It will be interesting to see if other conservatives join in and try to claim Gibson is really a liberal and not one of them. At least the conservatives are repudiating Gibson.While it is not clear whether Greenwald’s argument applies to more than one conservative writer in this case, his post is also worth reading for yet another good summary of Gibson’s history of hatred toward homosexuals as well as Jews. Knowledge of this history is important in understanding that the fundamental issue here is extremism, not alcoholism.
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