Thomas Wictor

Mel Gibson made his bed

Mel Gibson made his bed

I just read an incredibly long piece by Allison Hope Weiner, titled “A Journalist’s Plea On 10th Anniversary Of ‘The Passion Of The Christ’: Hollywood, Take Mel Gibson Off Your Blacklist.” Ms. Weiner says that she misjudged Gibson, that he isn’t an anti-Semite, and she now considers him a friend.

Right off the bat, I’ll say it’s not up to me to tell others how they should feel about Mel Gibson. If you want to give him a second chance, do so. But if you prefer to avoid him, do so. Having said that, the article raises a lot of red flags.

For one thing Ms. Weiner is a woman of a certain age who acts and sounds like a teenager. That tells me that she’s starstruck. I’m sure she always thinks of Mel Gibson as a celebrity, not a person. Years ago I read a book about Hollywood sordidness. One woman recounted her affair with Clark Gable.

When he entered me, I felt nothing. But when I opened my eyes and saw Clark Gable on top of me, I went wild.

In her piece, Ms. Weiner says this.

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.

Whatever you might say about Mel Gibson, he’s a brilliant actor. Mike Albee is a brilliant actor. Mike came across as funny, kind, and charming, as far from a demon as I could imagine. Yet people keep contacting me and telling me how he ripped them off. Authors, Web designers, programmers, videographers—Mike stiffs them all and then laughs about it. So it doesn’t mean anything to me that Mel Gibson could win over a room full of Jewish people.

Culturally, Jews are very forgiving. The Israelis are currently treating Syrian civilians and fighters free of charge, even though Israel is still at war with Syria. I’m not surprised that Ms. Weiner would want to forgive Mel Gibson, but that’s her choice. It doesn’t mean everyone else should follow suit.

Don’t get me wrong: Hollywood is a cesspool. There’s no question in my mind that the blacklisting of Mel Gibson is due to his conservative politics and his devout Catholicism more than anything else. My proof is that for ten years, at every single party in L.A. I went to as a music journalist, people told antisemitic jokes. I have Jewish ancestors. Here are Abram, Eli, and Levi Lower, all bankers.


I don’t self-identify as Jewish, but it’s a fact that I’m descended from Jews. Hollywood was where I first heard the term “oven-dodger” to describe Jews, a term Winona Ryder claims Mel Gibson used on her. Her accusation has credence in that Gibson was an A-list celebrity, I heard Jews called “oven-dodgers” for ten years in Hollywood, and Gibson has used other antisemitic language.

It was my experience that in Hollywood, most non-Jews hated Jews. I see it as simple jealousy. The Swiss psychiatrist Alice Miller said that antisemitism qualifies as a genuine mental illness. I agree. Most Japanese hate Jews, despite having no contact with them. The Japanese word for the number ten is jū. When I was in Japan in the early to mid eighties, Japanese would say to each other about me, “I think he’s a ten,” meaning “I think he’s a Jew.”

I don’t believe that a person can spew utter hatred toward a select group of people and not actually hate that group. Ms. Weiner excuses Gibson’s behavior by saying he was drunk and in pain. This next passage, however, is the least-intelligent part of her piece.

I’ve discussed the Holocaust with Gibson and whether his views differed from those of his father. Just as he refused to condemn his father in that TV interview with Diane Sawyer, Gibson refused to discuss his dad with me. Similar to what he told Sawyer, Gibson told me that he believed that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. “Do I believe that there were concentration camps where defenseless and innocent Jews died cruelly under the Nazi regime? Of course I do; absolutely,” he told Sawyer. “It was an atrocity of monumental proportion.” In our conversations, I took that a step further. Why, I asked him “did you say those things about the Jews starting all the wars? Where did those unkind things come from?”

Gibson thought for a moment, then answered that he’d been terribly hurt by the very personal criticism of him from the Jewish community over The Passion Of The Christ. He said that while he’d been criticized for films before, this was personal and cruel. He said that when he drinks, he can be a mean drunk and “Stuff comes out in a distorted manner…” His own faith led him to make his version of Christ’s story, and he found himself being attacked for making a film that might get Jews killed, and that he was insensitive that his depiction of Jews as Christ’s killer could inflame religious tensions. He was called names by numerous Jewish leaders and a few people literally spat on him. “The criticism was still eating at me,” he told me. “This was a different kind of hammering. A very personal attack.”

Well, the reason so many Jews were upset is because The Passion of the Christ presents Jews as corrupt, primitive, violent, and physically repulsive.

One of the classic pejoratives used on Jews is “Christ killers.” Gibson knew this. It’s ludicrous for him to claim that he felt no animosity toward Jews until they attacked him unfairly over his movie, so he retaliated by saying they start all wars. That particular accusation is one of the cherished notions of dedicated Jew haters. In my study of military history, I’ve heard and read it literally thousands of times.

No; the Jews have not the creative abilities which are necessary to the founding of a civilization; for in them there are not, and never has been, that spirit of idealism which is an absolutely necessary element in the development of mankind. Therefore the Jewish intellect will never be constructive but always destructive… Their work of destruction now goes ahead more quickly, reducing one State after another to a mass of ruins on which they will erect the everlasting and sovereign Jewish Empire.

—Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

I was drunk out of my mind for two decades, and I’ve suffered far more pain than Mel Gibson has. Never once have I roared racist or antisemitic epithets. Gibson’s father is a full-fledged Holocaust denier. It’s not hard to see where Mel would get a Jew-hating mindset.

The idea that Hollywood has blacklisted Mel Gibson for high-minded mortal reasons is laughable. These are the same people who embrace Roman Polanski and far worse predators I could tell you about. But Mel Gibson made his bed. And because of his excesses, he’s no longer marketable as a leading man.

Give him a second chance if you choose. Or keep him in limbo, where he is. He’s the author of all his own misfortunes. If he can’t star in or direct movies anymore, there are other things he can do.

His vast fortune gives him a level of freedom and security most human beings can’t even imagine.

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