Mel Gibson’s careful efforts to play down the alleged anti-Semitism of his film The Passion of the Christ look a little futile now, don’t they? The actor’s reported racist tirade on Friday at Los Angeles police officers who arrested him for drink-driving will be extremely difficult to live down.
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and no amount of PR spin will remove the impression that the police saw Mel Gibson as he really is. Perhaps, as his father once did with the Holocaust, he’d be better off pretending the whole thing didn’t happen.
Reportedly among his paranoid accusations was that Jews were “responsible for all the wars in the world”. Pretty hard to justify if you’ve ever heard of World War II. But such extreme prejudices are highly resistant to logic, not to mention tequila.
It’s ironic that a group so victimised throughout human history has so often been accused of secretly running the world. Israel hasn’t even been able to carve out a peaceful niche for itself in its rightful homeland, let alone sinisterly manipulate the course of global events.
Only the most feverish conspiracy theorists believe the world is run by Jews. However, no one can deny that Hollywood contains a significant proportion of Jewish studio heads, and this could make Gibson’s career difficult.
At the very least, Gibson’s actions will discredit a telemovie he’s producing about Dutch Holocaust survivor Flory van Beek. Perhaps it will be axed in favour of another harrowing drama, where a Jewish person has to survive an encounter with a drunken Mel Gibson.
Bizarrely, he’s also meant to be producing a movie about the Maccabees, an early Jewish group that led a Braveheart-style revolution. It’s almost as if the guy lives in the past or something.
Gibson clearly has a major problem with both his drinking and his lunar-right-wing views.
He’s also made bigoted comments about homosexuality, while Tom Cruise and John Travolta have been victimised because of their association with Scientology; Cruise because of his public endorsement, and Travolta because of Battlefield Earth.
And while hardly in the same league, the constant moralising of actors such as Sean Penn is also fairly annoying. Hollywood stars really should be seen and not heard.
Gibson’s comments come at a time when many of us who aren’t a few drinks away from a racist tirade are questioning our own feelings about Israel in light of its Lebanon campaign.
But they’re probably also a welcome reminder that Jews are still so often the victims of hatred even in the so-called tolerant West. Gibson will pay a heavy penalty for his actions, and it seems appropriate that he pay an even heavier one for his words.
Read more of Dominic Knight on the Radar blog at www.radar.smh.com.au.
Two Photos: by AP/David Hernandez; AFP/Pool/Bob Strong