On Mel Gibson

Over the last few days, it has been fascinating to watch the whole Mel Gibson story unfold. Here you have a wildly popular actor, who has been unfairly accused of anti-Semitism in the past because of his magnificent movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” going on a drunken, anti-Semitic tirade against some police officers that included gems like, “[Expletive] Jews … the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?”

This has spawned a couple of obvious questions. The first being: is he an anti-Semite? Well, let’s face it — drunk or not, you don’t pull obnoxious rants about Jews out of the ether. On some level, that’s probably what he believes.

The other big question is: what now? Should Gibson be shunned? Should he be ignored? Here’s how I look at it: while Gibson was drunk and apparently suicidal, he said some really stupid things. Would you want the rest of your life to be defined by some moronic, horrible things you said during a drunken confrontation with a cop?

It might be different if Mel told everyone that he meant what he said afterwards, but geeze, he has bent over backwards to apologize and make it clear that he doesn’t mean what he said:

“I’m not just asking for forgiveness,” Gibson said. “I would like to take it one step further and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.”

It was the second apology the 50-year-old Oscar winner has issued through Nierob since his arrest.

Gibson said he is “in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display,” and hopes members of the Jewish community, “whom I have personally offended,” will help him in his recovery efforts.

“There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark,” Gibson said. “But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.”

Gibson acknowledged “there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that door is not forever closed.”

The actor-director said he must take responsibility for making anti-Semitic remarks, because as a public person, “when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena.”

Those are the words of a contrite, humiliated man, not another David Duke.

Furthermore, it’s not like we’re talking about the Secretary of State here: Mel Gibson is an actor. If we started blacklisting the films of every Hollywood actor who was obnoxious, racist, spoiled, anti-American, or a weirdo, so many people would be out of jobs that the entire film industry would collapse.

So, despite the fact that I thought what Mel Gibson said was abhorrent, I’m not going to skip any of his movies. After all, if I can still watch and enjoy Michael Moore’s, “Canadian Bacon,” I can certainly stomach Mel’s movies.

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