A Few Words About Mel Gibson

Oh, Mel…looks like you’ve done it again.

In 2006, when he was arrested for DUI, he shocked us all when he ranted that, “”The Jews are responsible for all wars in the world” and admitted to saying as much on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer. Four years later, poor Mel is on the proverbial crucifix again and up to his neck in more negative press. Radar Online first broke the exclusive story, revealing that Mel was taped going off on a racist and vulgar rant towards Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of their baby daughter, Lucia. On the infamous tape, Mel is alledged to have called Oksana a “bitch,” a “fucking fake,” and “an embarrassment” to him. Most damaging of all, he tells her: “You look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of ni**ers, it will be your fault.” Later, more news. It was discovered that Mel had actually hit this woman and is even caught on tape declaring that she “fucking deserved it.”

I am not writing this article to vilify or voice my negative opinions about Mr. Gibson. In fact, on the contrary. I’m writing in response to the many movie-goers I have seen since this discomforting story broke denouncing his work and claiming to boycott his future films. Whatever. I think these people are hypocrites. Seen a Hugh Grant movie the past few years? How about Eddie Murphy? Did you go see Christian Bale in The Dark Knight or the superfluous T3 after his vulgar, moronic and mean-spirited 4-minute rant against a helpless crew member? Watch any Tom Cruise flicks after he tried imposing his personal religious beliefs on others? Any Russell Crowe fans still out there after all his violent outbursts? Or we can look to just about any Hollywood celebrity or musician that feels it their civic duty to vociferously spew their immaterial political opinions every four years. And on and on we go.  

All I know is that if we boycotted every movie or concert of our favorite artists from music and film who said/did something wrong or stupid, then we wouldn’t be seeing a whole hell of a lot of movies or buying into much music at all. I for one have tremendous respect for Mel Gibson as a filmmaker and as an actor so I will gladly continue to pay my money to see his work. Part of what was coined the ‘Australian New Wave,’ this is the man responsible for bringing the magnificent Oscar-winning Braveheart to the screen — snatching up two well-deserved Academy Awards in the process. The highest paid celebrity in 2004, he has mostly chosen projects that revolve around characters fighting for justice or seeking revenge. I loved his performances in Payback, The Man Without A Face, Lethal Weapon, and The Bounty opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins. He did a terrific job tackling William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and showed off his charm and famous sense of humor in What Women Want. Whatever you may think of his Apocalypto, I thought it to be gorgeously filmed and a pretty impressive achievement.

I can’t stand political correctness. Not much offends me. What does offend me is when narrow-minded people are offended by material deemed politically incorrect. We’ve all lost our tempers at some point. We’ve all said things to others in the heat of the moment that we surely do not mean. It happens. We’re human. Some of us are more emotional and volatile than others (Gibson admits to being guilty of this in his GMA interview). The difference is that we don’t have paparazzi following us everywhere; nor does anything we say/do make the newspapers or electronic media. No one cares what we say. But they certainly do care what Mr. Gibson has to say. That’s where he gets screwed, and yes, that’s the price one pays for worldwide fame and making that kind of money.

So I really don’t care what Mr. Gibson says in the privacy of his own home. That’s his business, not mine. Where people do have a right to be upset is his admittance to striking a woman. That ain’t cool. I have no idea what was going on between the two, what was being said or how it came about, but I personally don’t believe in ever hitting a woman. I have never done it and don’t think I ever would. But let’s not all get on our soap boxes and condemn him, pretending that we were there and know what happened. These are the same small-minded people who ask me with a sour face, “How can you like Woody Allen? He’s a pedophile!” Or how I can pay good money to support a Roman Polanski film. It’s actually pretty easy. I love their work. I admire them as artists. I don’t give a shit about their personal lives.

I am sorry to see this all happening to Mel Gibson. I have always enjoyed seeing him on-screen and I respect him as an artist. I know that when Jodie Foster’s upcoming movie The Beaver comes out (in which he stars), I will most certainly go and try not to let the tabloids deter me from doing otherwise. Chin up, Mel!

Postscript: 7/9/10: After listening to the 2-minute heated exchange of the actual tape today, I do find it conspicuously odd that Oksana remains so terribly calm throughout. Sounds as if she had planned to set poor Mel up all along.


29 Responses to A Few Words About Mel Gibson

  1. Pingback: Peter Eramo ‘Web Rant #8′: More Thoughts on Mel Gibson « Magic Lantern Film Blog

  2. Steve says:

    Might makes right, so they say about war. In Hollywood, money makes right. Mel Gibson continues to make films that make money, so essentially he can do no wrong. He can accuse Jewish people of staging the holocaust as a practical joke against Palestine and the studios will continue to back him as long as the receipts keep coming in.

    The one thing he hasn’t done in any of his public transgressions is offended the religious right – his base. If he crossed the line and had church groups rise up against him, then there’d be a studio backlash and then he’d start to see his bankability suffer and then he’d start to see some consequences to his actions. For now though, he offended all the right people and can go on doing so with impunity.

    Doesn’t mean he can’t act. Doesn’t mean I like Lethal Weapon any less, although it does explain some of Rigg’s homophobia and racism throughout the series.

    • Great input. To date, I think “Passion” is still #1 in box-office receipts for a rated-R film. His movies make money, so he won’t pay as severely. True. I can’t help but admire him as an artist. He is a solid filmmaker. He won’t piss off his core base….he’s not that insane…

  3. Heather says:

    Here’s how I look at it, and feel free to blast me for it.

    It’s not my place to judge celebrities (or ANYONE for that damn matter) for their lives personal choices. They have to live with them, not me. Perhaps I may not like them because of it, and I’m entitled to that. However, many people have committed some pretty harsh “moral” crimes (Polanski and Allen), and even though I have personal distaste for them, I still see their films, with reservations ABSOLUTELY, but I do see them.

    Guys like Crowe, Bale, and Cruise are just guys being dickheads and they deserve their negative press because they aren’t keeping it private. They are throwing their doucheness into the universe for all of us to see. Still……..I see their movies, because they make good films, and even if I dislike them personally (Cruise in particular) I don’t want to be his friend.

    Even people that rant their political beliefs (Oliver Stone, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn) in a way that is shoved down your throat and there are others that have some class about it (George Clooney) I may personally loathe them, but I’ll still see their movies.

    Mel Gibson is how old? And finally in his old age he’s slipping up and either his life is falling apart (which is sad) or he’s too old to give a shit anymore, or he is just being caught in bad circumstances because people are LOOKING to investigate this once seemingly perfect guy, he’s getting shit. At the end of the day I don’t care about the tapes, I don’t care about his personal life. It’s none of my damn business. Maybe he’s an asshole, but what the hell does that have to do with me? Most of us are assholes and what we do behind closed doors could be judged by anyone. I’m in no place to say I’m so morally superior to him that I can boycott his movies. The way I live my life could be viewed just as repugnant by someone else with other intolerant views. Though I don’t agree with him or the shit that’s flown outta his mouth recently or his behavior, it isn’t my damn place to judge him and moreover I DONT care. I’m sick of celeb gossip.

    Thank you.

    Off my soapboax.

    • Raul Duke says:

      I agree with your take 99% and its a sane and lucid view of things. I pretty much don’t care wither. I will buy Woodys “moral” crime label but Roman comitted a real time crime. I would not care and still pay to watch his movies but personally I cannot support a person who uses his money and celebrity to avoid prosecution and jail.

      • Heather says:

        I think it’s disgusting the way Polanski’s avoided this country. It’s repulsive. Luckily, I don’t don’t generally love his movies so I don’t feel the urge to appreciate and love them anyway.

        Bale acted like a complete dickhead, so did Crowe, but frankly I think most of these stars have probably had those moments. Guys like Tom Hanks and George Clooney, probably not, but I fear they are probably the exception rather than the rule.

        And thanks for tolerating my rant!

    • Well stated, Heather. I agree with just about all of this. celeb gossip is bullshit anyway. I don’t think I ever bought a celeb magazine to read any of this shit and I never will. But most of America eats this shit up, which is sad. I do think you are being a bit easy on Bale and Crowe though. That 4-minute tirade of Bale’s was terrible. I’m still not sure what Woody did wrong, though many look down upon him. As far as I know, Woody was never married to Ms. Farrow and his now current wife (of over 10 years) was of legal age. All in all, I really enjoyed your opinions on this!!!

  4. Bruce says:

    It’s not Mel’s fault he hit her, sometimes you have to tell them twice.

  5. Olive says:

    Heard about the Mel Gibson thing, but didn’t know he admitted to hitting a woman?!Seriously Mel… that’s pretty shocking. Although I agree with you Peter, it wouldn’t stop me from going to see his movies. I’m sure other Hollywood actors/directors have done similar things, we just haven’t heard about it. (Yet)

    • yes, very true. I’m sure every celebrity, politician, etc. has done something terrible and we just don’t hear about most of it. This one slipped out and it looks bad. I don’t care. Mel is the man. He’s a talented artist.

  6. Nora says:

    Yeah I have to say I mostly agree. I can’t stand political correctness either and people tend to place these celebrities on a pedestal, dehumanizing them. No excuse for the behavior of course – especially if she really was holding the baby when he hit her. big NO NO, even if she had it coming!! a touchy subject, I can see why people are getting upset hearing about it. but no, it’s not anyone’s business but theirs and it’s certainly not going to stop me from going to see his movies. I mean, he’s William Wallace aka THE MAN!!!

    Wait, what about a fugitive hiding in Gstaad, Raul? Peter- GSTAAD!! I already can’t look at my pretty posters the same… now this? Haha

    • Raul is referring to Polanski’s fugitive status, though he is honored everywheer in Europe. It’s the US where he has his trouble. He IS William Wallace….good points made here, Nora!

      • Nora says:

        I see… I knew he was in Switzerland but didn’t know where. I love Polanski’s films too and actually really liked “Ghost Writer” earlier this year. I always try to separate the artist from the “personality” – sometimes its hard though. Mel will be fine… that’s how this stuff happens too. The press goes crazy, then a new story comes along and soon enough, all gets forgotten.

    • Raul Duke says:

      Let me clear up Peter’s PC version of Roman Polanski’s status. He drugged and sodomized an underage girl over 30 years ago and has been on the lamb since he fled the country in 1978 and was convicted of the crimes in absentia since he had not guts to stand trial. He needs to be extradited from his chalet in Gstaad and sent to prison where his fellow inmates can return the favor and demonstrate sodomy from the other end (pardon the pun)

      • you just totally twisted the truth around! Saying he didn’t have the guts to stand trial is certainly not true at all. I am not saying he didn’t do anything wrong or anything unlawful. But our judicial system fucked with this guy…they told him one thing, then did another. Even the prosecution says he was royally screwed over by the asshole of a judge that was more concerned with celebrity than seeking justice. Not excusing what he did at all, Roman got a shit deal and did what many would do. The latest Polanski documentary is objective and fascinating and tells both sides very well.

        • Raul Duke says:

          The judge did not drug and rape the girl, Roman did. The courts were wrong to make any . kind of deal. Serious charges need to sorted out by a jury. As as for Europe honoring him,
          That’s enough of an indictment all on it’s own. I did not twist anything. He committed a serious crime and has not paid the piper.

          • Deals are made ALL THE TIME. His was not honored in the least. Again, I did not condone what he did. He had to be punished. You did twist the truth when you said he did not want to stand trial. He was going through all the motions and was ready to stand trial until the dishonorable judge screwed him royally. He did commit a crime. He was ready to do his time, and the judge turned the tables on him. Again, even the State’s people speak out against this judge and what he did to Roman.

            • Aaron Weiss says:

              There was some injustice regarding his case. While I do agree that Polanski should serve justice for his crimes, the fact is that the case is so deep crap no one will receive proper justice. Polanski was given the Hollywood treatment, there is no denying that. However, the judge at the time, now dead, worked his courtrooms like a director. He told people what to do, how to say it. He got his pictures in the newspaper and that was that.

              But the moment the judge felt he lost control of his movie case, he redacted many of the promises that were made. Peter is right, deals are made all the time. Polanski was originally arrested for multiple crimes, but a guilty plea deal, instead only the crime of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. That was a deal.

              On top of that, the former DA had said that he has lied, multiple times regarding the promises that actually took place. In other words, there will never be a fair trial for Polanski. There may be a trial, and there may be jail time, maybe life. But there was certainly foul play on all sides. BTW, hasn’t it been almost one year since he was arrested in Switzerland? Sure has been quite sometime for a neutral country to make a decision to expedite him. Maybe we’ll see Polanski in court prior to the next decade.

              I do believe Samantha Geimer even asked for the courts to throw out the case and was declined. If thats the justice she’s looking for, why can’t we provide that to her?

              • Yes, this is what I learned from “Wanted & Desired” and I think it is a travesty that this man was never given the opportunity of having a “fair trial” as you state here. Again, I am in no way trying to say that Polanski did not commit a crime or should be punished. But the case was a sham and the judge was a fraud. You are right – he wanted things done his way and he wanted to make headlines in all the papers. He loved that shit. And yes, even the DA, years later, said he lied and others lied as well. This is justice? this is our wonderful judicial system? A joke, if you ask me. Geimer did say years ago, she wanted it all thrown out, but I understand that this is not up to her.

                • Nora says:

                  While I do not know the ins & outs of this case in enough detail to speak specifically, all I can say is that justice is a funny thing… it comes, or doesn’t, in many forms. While he may never receive a “fair trial”, or have done back to him what he did to this girl, he is still a prisoner of his own conscience. I strongly believe in the concept of karma; we get what we give and we eventually pay the price for our actions, whether good or bad. Whether he sits in a cell somewhere or lives the rest of his life in hiding or is “set free” – he is serving a sentence.

                  • Raul Duke says:

                    Well put. Karma is a mother——.
                    However his personal cell for the last 3+decades has been plush. But I agree with your philosophy.

                    • Nora says:

                      I hear you… rich or poor, we all end up in the same place & have a life to reckon with.

              • Raul Duke says:

                Good points. Acknowledging the lies, deals judge etc… There was a serious crime committed. He has avoided justice for more than 3 decades. And our legal system does not depend on the victim to decide if the criminal should be prosecuted.

  7. Raul Duke says:

    Excellent take on this Peter. These people live under a microscope and although Mel spouted some vile stuff it certainly appeared to be a setup. Push Mel’s buttons with tape running = trouble for Mel during a messy divorce. Basically I don’t give a crap either and I really enjoy his films. As for Roman, good filmaker but that is entirely different situation. Fugitive Convicted rapist hiding out in Gstaad. He can make all the movies he wants to in San Quentin. (action thrillers I bet)

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