The Passion Of The Mel
The career of Mel Gibson, one of Hollywood's most bankable actors, may have been damaged irreparably over the weekend when Gibson let loose a barrage of anti-Semitic statements following his DUI arrest by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers. He reportedly shouted out, "f***ing Jews" and "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" and asked the arresting deputy (who admitted to being "frightened" by Gibson, "Are you a Jew?" (His comments were first reported by the TMZ.com celebrity website.) The following day, Gibson issued a statement stating, "I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am ashamed of everything I said." He also apologized to the arresting officers for his "belligerent behavior," adding, "I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse." Veteran publicist Michael Levine was quoted by the MSNBC site as saying, "It's a nuclear disaster for him. ... I don't see how he can restore himself." Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, who warned in 2004 that Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, would rekindle anti-Semitism in the U.S., commented, "It's not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry. ... We would hope that Hollywood now would realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from this anti-Semite." Newsday critic John Anderson rhetorically asked in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: "How many people when they are drunk and angry start lashing out at the Jews?" Reporting on the arrest and Gibson's comments, the Los Angeles Times observed today (Monday): "Although many of the town's senior executives are Jewish and Hollywood has a long history of supporting Israel and Jewish causes, there was no widespread public condemnation of Gibson's comments over the weekend. Although some high-level executives privately expressed dismay at the statements attributed to Gibson after his arrest, none of those contacted would speak on the record."