The first excerpt comes from a Mar. 11 posting by Allison Hope Weiner on Deadline.com.
It has been a decade since Mel Gibson made The Passion Of The Christ and watched it become the biggest-grossing independent film with $612 million in worldwide ticket sales. In the years that followed, Gibson made several comments that went public, made him seem anti-Semitic and racist. They made him persona non grata at major studios and agencies, the same ones that work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson, who essentially used his tongue as a lethal weapon. As a journalist who vilified Gibson in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly until my coverage allowed me to get to know him, I want to make the case here that it is time for those Hollywood agencies and studios to end their quiet blacklisting of Mel Gibson. Once Hollywood’s biggest movie star whose film Braveheart won five Oscars and whose collective box office totals $3.6 billion, Gibson hasn’t been directly employed by a studio since Passion Of The Christ was released in 2004.
The Gibson I’ve come to know isn’t a man who’ll shout from the rooftops that he’s not anti-Semitic, or hold a press conference to tell media those audiotapes were released as part of a shakedown, and that he never assaulted the mother of his infant daughter. He won’t explain to people that he first got himself into a career spiral because he’s a long struggling alcoholic who fell off the wagon and spewed hateful anti-Semitic remarks to an arresting officer who was Jewish. He won’t tell you that he’s still got a lot to offer Hollywood as a filmmaker.
The fact that he won’t jump to his own defense is part of his problem, but also part of why I have grown to respect him. That is why on the occasion of this 10th anniversary of Passion, a film about an innocent man’s willingness to forgive the greatest injustice, I propose to Hollywood that it’s time to forgive Mel Gibson. He has been in the doghouse long enough. It’s time to give the guy another chance.
For those who are skeptical, I understand. For the longest time, I disliked Gibson and thought he was a Holocaust-denier, homophobic, misogynistic, racist drunk. I wrote as much in articles for EW and the NY Times. And whenever I wrote about him, I would get irate calls from his representatives saying I didn’t know him.
Then something happened that I never expected. I came to rethink my harsh assessment after I got to know the man. It started when I interviewed him in 2006 for an EW cover. I could see that he was smart, expressing sincere empathy for the people he’d hurt. I had to admit to myself that I was impressed that he hadn’t shied away from answering my tough questions.
We next spoke when he was working on a script about Vikings with his Braveheart writer Randall Wallace. After that, we spoke occasionally on the phone and met for lunch at his Icon Production offices to discuss Get The Gringo. Our conversations were mostly about business, but would carry over to movies or books we liked, trips we’d taken. I liked how his mind worked. Like the movies he directs, the stories he told were incredibly visual. He never asked me for anything or tried to play me, and I’ve interviewed enough movie stars to know when they are working you. Gibson was unafraid to disagree with and challenge me. Our conversations broadened to family, our relationships, religion.
It developed into something that felt like friendship, which doesn’t often happen with investigative journalists and the subjects they cover. Odder still was that it happened with a man disdained by my colleagues, friends and my family, who, like me, are observant Jews. At this point, Gibson’s career had gone all kinds of wrong, starting with that 2006 DUI arrest, when he told that cop that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Four years later, he sounded positively unhinged and racist in surreptitious recordings of an angry phone exchange between Gibson and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva — the mother of his infant daughter. The whole world heard him shout abusively at her and make racist remarks.
It was after the latter episode that my relationship with Gibson truly changed. It’s very difficult to get to know anyone in a journalistic context — one rarely gets any real insight into the person you’re interviewing. In Gibson’s case, this was particularly true. He wasn’t the kind of person to open up a vein and publicly plead for forgiveness as some do. But a conversation that came months after that changed our relationship.
I was on vacation with my family when Gibson called me. During his breakup with Grigorieva, he’d gone through a terrible emotional breakdown and struggled to get healthy, gain joint custody of his infant daughter and deal with the fallout from the publication of those awful tapes. He was in a very bad place and we talked for some time about how difficult it was for him to deal with the pain he’d inflicted on his family — his ex-wife Robyn and his seven children, his infant daughter. He got so upset talking about that period in his life that he ended our call abruptly. He’d shared some very deep, personal feelings with me and was in so much pain, that I was honestly worried about him. It wasn’t the type of conversation that one has with an interview subjects. I decided we were friends now and that I could no longer write objectively about him.
Since then, I’ve gotten to know Gibson extremely well. I thought it would be difficult for him to have a friend in the media, but he has been surprisingly honest and trusting. As a lawyer-turned-reporter, I have no problem asking tough questions, even of friends. Gibson never wavered or equivocated when I confronted him, whether the subject was his drinking, his politics, his religion or his relationships with women. It soon became clear that my early journalistic assessment of him wasn’t right.
This crystallized when we met each other’s families. It was hard to blame his family for being skeptical of a journalist, but the issues with my own family were more challenging. Gibson asked to meet them at my son’s bar mitzvah celebration. Imagine the scene: A room filled with Jews. In walks the person who, in their minds, might be the most notorious anti-Semite in America. Gibson attended alone and I can only imagine what was going through his head when he walked into the party.
Before the evening was over, he was chatting with many of my relatives, who saw a funny, kind, charming guy and not the demon they’d read about. Gutsier still, he attended our Yom Kippur break fast dinner. Anyone who has attended such a gathering knows there is nothing more imposing than making friends in a room full of Jews who haven’t eaten in 24 hours….
Hollywood has long been a town famous for loving a good comeback story. In Gibson’s case, I believe that a few powerful people have gone out of their way to prevent that.
I’m telling you, my friend Mel Gibson has pulled himself together. He is sober seven years, hitting the gym for a role in an independent film, and thinking positively about the future. It has been 11 years since he was paid by a major studio to star in a film, and he hasn’t directed a studio film since Braveheart won five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. He wasn’t the bad person I thought he was back when I first wrote about him, and I’m telling you, he is now not the person you think he is. As one A-list star told me recently, “Mel has spent enough time in the penalty box.”
So how about it, Hollywood? To read the original Deadline story, click here.
The following comes from a Mar. 12 story on Showbiz411.com.
Mel Gibson has a defender in Allison Hope Weiner, writing for Deadline.com. Weiner says it’s time to forgive and forget Gibson’s anti-Semitic, alcoholic, homophobic history.
Weiner conveniently leaves out the issue that first brought the real Gibson to our attention.This was before The Passion of the Christ, or his DUI arrest or his interview with Diane Sawyer. This is separate from the fact that Gibson has never publicly apologized for anything.
Mel Gibson has a private charitable foundation called the A P Reilly Foundation, with $70 million in tax-free assets. The purpose of A P Reilly was to build and maintain a private church Mel Gibson owns in Agoura Hills, California called Holy Family. The church – part of a massive real estate compound – is not recognized by any archdiocese. Just as well, because Holy Family doesn’t believe in the Pope– any pope. Its main theological thrust refutes the Second Vatican Council of 1965, which denounced anti-Semitism. I doubt Allison Hope Weiner has been invited up to Gibson’s private church and met with his parishioners….
….By the way, everything about Holy Family and A P Reilly has been scrubbed clean from Gibson’s Wikipedia page. I’m surprised the ever vigilant editors and contributors have allowed that.
To read the entire Showbiz article, click here.
Everyone has personal demons whom the devil uses to torment. Sure, it was un-Christ-like for Mel Gibson to utter such remarks, but he was drunk at the time, and theologically speaking, when one is under the influence, according to moral theology, he is not totally responsible for what he is doing. Now, Woopie Goodberg is on television all the time, saying how bad and terrible the Catholic Church is, and how horrible the Pope is. Other people curse at the Church, tear up pictures of the Holy Father, and say vile things about Christ, and NOTHING happens to them, because of free speech. They are the darlings of the media, and the stars of culture because they are against God and His Church. But, let a Catholic say a few things that are rude and crude, and then all hell brakes loose. Satan was furious that THE PASSION was produced, and got back at Mel Gibson via the media. Our silly, dumb and uneducated culture never sees a double standard at play, and are always ready to believe falsehoods. The masses will always attack when the evil and debauched media sees an easy target.
I thought the sin of getting drunk added to the culpability of whatever wrong was done.
Very good point. Being intoxicated would not be a mitigating circumstance.
Mel Gibson was never on my blacklist. What happened was small potatoes. He got drunk and ranted about Jews who didn’t want him to make Passion and went out of their way to make him feel uncomfortable while he made it. Small potatoes.
Mel Gibson is someone to admire, in a number of ways. Yes, he has publicly committed a number of sins. And, yes, he is against what Vatican II brought forth (wait, is that necessarily a bad thing?). However, he is a man of Faith and he has suffered for it. Hollywood — to give itself cover — gives the cold shoulder to Gibson for his alleged this and that attitudes. But what Hollywood can never forget is that he brought to the screen “The Passion of The Christ,” portraying Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Jews at least complicit in his crucifixion. And, Gibson made money, lots and lots of money — a real middle finger to Hollywood. In sum, Hollywood hates Gibson for his Faith, and that he tries to live it. A flawed man, Gibson gives many free shots to those that are against him. But, these same Pharisees are screaming against the belief in Jesus Christ, and His dominion over Mankind. Temptations of the flesh bothered Catholic saints greatly, with Sts. Francis and Benedict jumping into icy water, rolling on snow, and tossing them selves into thorn bushes to cease physical temptations. Mr. Gibson succumbed to many such temptations, but has the heart and, hopefully, the soul, of a disciple. Ms. Weiner somewhat misses the mark in her article. Although well-intended, her point is not strong enough: Mel Gibson is a man of strong Faith, who, while sinful, has been surpressed by Hollywood’s pagan-elite, who will continue to do so to him, and to others, until a pinch of incense is offered to their gods. Let’s hope that Mr. Gibson continues trying to become holy, and performs on his own terms. We will be better for it, if he does.
Yes, I agree. I hope he comes back strong after this most recent absence. His Apocalypto was brilliantly done, and exceptional in every way. He is a gifted man, no matter how far he falls. I pray for him as often as I can. We all could use a bit of help when we stumble and fall on our face.as badly as he. And he has a target the size of Texas with the neon brilliance of Las Vegas on him. Hollyweird could not be more pleased to use him as their personal punching bag. That can only mean he’s offended those pagans really bad, so Mel must be doing or have done something right.
Mel Gibson, Woody Alan, Roman Polanski. All brilliant, creative men with serious spiritual problems.
I don’t think Mel deserves to be labeled as part of the Polansky/Allen type. He may be a recovering alcoholic, but he’s no child abuser. He deserves better than that.
Wrong C&H, Gibson committed the cardinal s in of the Hollywood Left, making anti-semitic comments, Polanski raped and a sodomized a child, Allen married his wife’s adopted daughter, how on earth can you see and parity here??? Are liberals that demented ??? And as uncomfortable as this will sound both Allen and Polanski are Jews, as are some of the most powerful people in Hollywood, don’t think for a second that does not play a part as too who gets forgiven. Gibson was hated long before he was spewing racist and anti-semitic comments the ADL and NY Times went after him for the Passion of Christ long before the movie was released. Why because they hate Christ as much as they Gibson… Gibson is no doubt a troubled fellow, but please don’t insult the rest of us putting him on the same level with Allen and Polanski
God bless and help Mel for the good he has done and may God forgive him for what he has done wrong as we hope God will forgive us for the evil we have done.
Roger Friedman clearly has an axe to grind.
I was disturbed when he listed “homophobia” among Gibson’s public “sins”. Homophobia is generally used as a smear to dismiss anyone who believes homosexual acts are sinful. Liberals would have everyone believe that disapproval of homosexual acts and adherence to Catholic moral doctrine rooted in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition is the real sin, and they’re 100% wrong.
I was confused when he claimed that Gibson has never apologized. He’s done so publicly, at least twice, and the article that Friedman seeks to undermine details many other ways in which Gibson has privately tried to make amends.
Perhaps Friedman was one of the Jews Mel was thinking of when he raged.
Hammering Gibson for his father’s beliefs is unfair. If Gibson’s father is anti-Semitic, should Gibson cease to love his father?
I don’t share Hutton Gibson’s views and I accept that Hitler killed 6 million Jews, but I don’t think it’s necessarily indicative of anti-Semitism to suggest the number was smaller.
I’ve never understood why asking questions about whether the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust is an accurate number is automatically deemed anti-Semitic or why there is an insistence on behaving as though the Jewish people were the only victims of Hitler that matter.
Hitler caused the death of 6 million Jews, which is an absolute atrocity, but he also caused the murder of 11 million other non-Jewish people, yet this much larger group seems to be treated as an unimportant afterthought. I’m not sure why that is the case.
I don’t deny that Hitler hated and murdered Jews, but he also hated and murdered other targeted groups, included Poles (of whom 2.5 million gentile Poles were killed) and some other Slavic peoples; Soviets (particularly prisoners of war); Romanies (also known as Gypsies) and others who did not belong to the Aryan Herrenvolk “Aryan master race”; the mentally ill, the deaf, the physically disabled and mentally retarded; homosexuals; political opponents such as communists, Catholic priests, religious, and laity, and other people deemed religious dissidents.
Gibson’s brand of Traditional Catholicism is admittedly problematic, because union with the Church Christ founded requires union with the Magisterium.
I’m not sure why Friedman believes the primary motive for their anti-Vatican II stance is rooted in anti-Semitism. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that, and I have a hard time believing it.
Traditionalist Catholics at odds with the Holy See don’t generally list relations the Jews as their primary concern. It’s usually about the Tridentine Mass and the deviation from tradition, as well as the widespread liturgical experimentation, flirtation with doctrinal heresy, and resultant loss of faith that followed Vatican II.
I recognize these problems and share many of the concerns expressed by Traditionalists.
I won’t separate from the Holy Father, but I am sometimes disappointed by the pope, just as I was disappointed by Pope John Paul II over certain issues.
Friedman’s principle concern isn’t infidelity to the Magisterium. It seems to be rooted in a fixation on Gibson’s alleged views about Judaism and resentment over The Passion Of The Christ.
“Traditional Catholicism” = Protestantism.
It’s terribly sad that someone would write “Traditional Catholicism” as a proper noun.
Your comment is not “proper” – Protestantism!!! – You would be very surprised at how many Traditional Catholics there are in the world today. More than you, or the Church, think. Yes, I am one and will remain one and very happy being in communion with the Church and at the same time disagreeing with it.
You’re either a Catholic Christian or you’re not. This notion of a “Traditional Catholic” is pure bunkum. Bunkum I might add that is not recognized by the Holy See.
There is the Latin Rite of the Church, there are several much smaller Eastern Catholic churches/traditions, the Church recognizes charisms but it certain doesn’t recognize “Traditional Catholics.”
Now you have gone from ‘Protestantism’ to Catholic Christian’. I am not sure what the Holy See recognizes sometimes. I would like to you to define ‘Traditional’. Your reply may be limited but interesting. Thank you…..
thank you for your very thoughtful honest comments on here MJCMT. I hope that you will continue to post more of them on future articles as well.
Good comments MJCMT!
God forgives, and so do I.
He is a sinner like most of us and we are called to forgive.
Are you sure that Gibson doesn’t recognize “any” pope? Or is it just that he doesn’t recognize the post Vatican II popes?
What’s the point? At any one point there is only one Pope. You can’t say, “I belong to the Church of Pope Innocent III”. Either you are in communion with the [current] Roman Pontiff, or you are not in communion with any of them. The human failings of the man who holds the chair at the moment, notwithstanding.
Mel Gibson can be forgiven much for his making of The Passion of The Christ, a life-changing film for many, including myself. But…sedevacantism separates one from the Catholic Church, the Church that Mel professes to love. He is going to have to examine that position and belief very closely. I wish him well.
Maybe Mel Gibson was sick and tired of being criticized by the Hollywood folks for making and profiting handsomely from a religious Christian movie.
I wonder if Mrs. Gibson has forgiven him for his adultery. So sad for his wife and children.
If Hollywood likes you then you should be worried, because you are probably doing something wrong. I agree with Fr. Karl that Mel was attacked by the Devil who was so angered by The Passion of the Christ movie. We all have our weaknesses and the Devil zeroed in on his. Because of Mel’s faith he was able to dig himself out of the pit of dispare he had fallen into. He is a talented man and his name stamped on any project would bring the masses if he were to direct more movies. No one needs Hollywood it is a self serving, immoral cespool of lost souls. If any of them make it out wil some self respect they should be on their knees thanking God! I for one would encourage Mel to make more movies about the Saints and Biblical events.
Mel Gibson isn’t a olocaust denier, he’s a Second Vatican Council denier. Probably has some inner troubles that we just aren’t privy to.
Interesting take on life……if you disagree with the Catholic Church, just build your own! Nice gig.
Mel Gibson is a nut.
His father was even nuttier.
Plus, they thought themselves holier and wiser than the Roman Catholic Church itself, with all their schismatic nonsense.
There is no need to defend such behavior.
The fact that Mel constructed his own “church” building and hired his own rent-a-priest is just as troubling as any of the garbage mentioned in this article.
I am sitting here just shaking my head how some of us Jews and Christians set each other up for breaking the Torah and the Bible, and even throw out some of its laws — such as marriage between a man and a woman and the one against sodomy to justify some of our own sins. God is not mocked people. Never! As the Rev. Billy Graham once said, “We do not break the Commandments, we break ourselves upon them.” He was ever so right on that one. And my advice to Mel Gibson, whose Passion of the Christ I not only saw at the theatre but bought, keep your clothes on in the next movies you make, whether independent or in Hollywood. Of course that scene was not in the Passion of the Christ. Fr. Peyton please come back to Hollywood, even if just in spirit, we need you badly. Things seem to have been more “tame” on the screen when you were there, and as one wise rabbi, Juda the Hasid, once said, “In matters of morality, Christians and Jews rise or fall together,” and indeed we do.
I should clarify that the scene from the Gibson movie which included nudity was taken from the back not from the front, but when a young Christian woman, far younger than , I asked me, “Is Mel Gibson really Christian? You know he appeared in a movie butt naked?” I did not know how to answer her. Of course other stars have done similar things or worse, but that is the point — do not let it get worse and make it better. Live movies are a great deal different than National Geographic or a statue in marble.
Let’s see if we have this right.
We are supposed to listen to, interact with, and gently and generously love, all the Jews, the Moslems, the Atheists, the Sodomites and the Abortionists, but when it comes to someone like Mel Gibson, it’s a different story. Why? Because he has crossed over the line? Because in today’s Church, only traditionalism and sedevacantism are unacceptable?
Mel the Man – is as flawed a human as most, although no one has linked him to the culture of butchering babies like CHINO Nancy Pelosi or Maria Shriver and their ilk,
Still – The Passion was one of the most profoundly moving and enlightening and soul searing pieces of cinema I have ever witnessed.
Does One Forgive the Other – Of course not.. Only True Confession and Repentance can provide forgiveness.
But neither does Men’s behavior as a flawed human (and the havoc caused by Alcohol Addiction leading to Drunkard Behaviors) – Detract from the Beauty of the Passion, which brings home with brutal honesty the suffering of Our Lord under the Pagan Pilate and his minions.
Nor does Mel the Man diminish one iota – the Sacrifice of Jesus the Christ for Redemption from All Our Sins.
I should clarify, though, that the actor (Mel Gibson) was not filmed from the front but from the back in that scene. Others have done far worse since, so I think Hollywood and the entertainment industry need to keep things less graphic.
Sorry folks for accidentally posting two similar posts. I was not sure the first one went through.
I have no issues against Mel. I really feel that he is talented. His movie the Passion of Christ was excellent. It moved hearts that is for sure. I was just disappointed with him divorcing his wife, he has a lot of children too. They must have suffered greatly. Even his new honey, the issues he had with her and the scandal didn’t help. I kept praying for him to unite with the Magisterium and still continue to do so.
Well he is a talented person and I pray for him to continue to make good movies. Hopefully he will rid himself of those demons that keep stopping him from making more inspirational excellent movies. Lets keep him in our prayers.
Mel Gibson, with all his flaws and foibles, is a somewhat strange man, yes, an alcoholic, but highly intelligent, talented and sincere. He is a sinner and a Catholic, a great failure and a great success, depending on how one measures things and what day of the week it is. Something of a perfectionist, he is a man who holds himself and others to noticeably high standards that he (and they) can achieve only sporadically and perhaps never completely.
As the child of a raving lunatic, he has nevertheless done pretty well by himself overall, not bad for someone also challenged by his own alcoholism. His personal anguish is palpable, to his credit. He has caused great pain to himself and others and yet, also to his credit, he has given significant gifts to the world that will live on long after his fame and infamy have faded.
Overall, he seems to me to have given more to the world than he has taken from us. In any event, while we are tasked to discern, we are taught that it is not for us to judge.
A warning for us all.
“And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of the of this life; and that day come upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come upon all that are upon the face of the whole earth.” Luke 21:34-35
“Blessed is that servant , whom when his lord shall come he shall find him so doing. Amen I say to you: he shall place him over all his goods. But if that servant shall say in his heart; My lord is long a coming; and shall begin to strike his fellow servants and shall eat and drink with drunkards ; the lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not and at an hour that he knoweth not: and shall separate him, and appoint him with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:46-51.
I would not have to try telling a jury not to prosecute me for murder if I killed someone in a car while intoxicated. It is very wise to limit ones drinking to avoid that situation from the start.
As far as Mel Gibson, yes I think he deserves a second chance as we all do, but I am not sure Hollywood is the answer, only God knows.
He never was on my blacklist.
I cannot possibly imagine what I would do if I had been empowered with the same gift as Mel Gibson has received from God. The only present day man to have the wisdom, courage and art to be able to tell the greatest story of love, forgiveness and indescribable pain & suffering …..and get it RIGHT! What would you do with that responsibility, gift, and passion to tell and bring the story to life? How many times did Jesus fall? We all need help up….. we all need a hand extended to us ….to reach out and grab, stand back up, brush ourselves off and start again. The next time we can extend our hand to someone instead of our judgment lets do it. And as for Mel Gibson…. lets start with him.
What gift? He’s a horrible actor!
My apologies to Mel Gibson. I should not have brought up something that happened so long ago and should have worded my message differently. I did not realize it had been so long ago. I just did not want him to make a similar scene using different actors. Mea culpa!
Gibson is vilified because he dared to bring the gospel to Sodom and Gomorrah.