I hate Mel Gibson. Not for the reasons you think mind you. Up until this weekend I really rather liked him, particularly as an actor and director. But all that ends now. The man is now repugnant to me. Gibson was picked up by LA sheriffs very early Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. No, I don’t hate him for that. Everyone makes mistakes, and while his dangerous and stupid choice angers me furiously, I don’t hate him personally for it. My hatred stems from the fact I’ve never had a decent driver’s license photo in my life, yet Mel goes to the big house and his 5 AM drunken mug shot (you can see it at the right) and it comes out looking better than what I get out of four tries on my best day at the DMV. It’s sickening how photogenic the man is.
OK, so I hate Mel for his dashing good luck with the camera, but it seems others out there have other reasons to hate him. News abounds as to what exactly Mel said last Friday morning. TMZ.com posted Gibson’s alleged comments which included comments like "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Alright, that’s two strikes for Mel. Drunk driving is disgusting, but those kinds of comments are inexcusable as well, even for a drunken man. Now, this would be the point in the story where most celebrities would begin trying to whimper their way out of the predicament with excuses like “I didn’t realize I hadn’t paid for the sweater in my bag” or “the glove doesn’t quite fit my hand so obviously I didn’t kill anyone”. Mel, on the other hand, owned up rather quickly and issued an apology that included the following statement:
"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said, and I apologize to anyone who I have offended."
That was all it took for those good hearted folks at the Anti-Defamation League to jump into action. Abraham Foxman, no less than the National Director for ADL, came out and stated "Mel Gibson's apology is unremorseful and insufficient. It's not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism.” Gibson once made a movie based on historic literature in which Jewish people who lived over 2000 years ago conspired to commit political murder, and since then he’s been branded an anti-Semite. Steven Spielberg once made a movie that included a black man who beat and abused his family. Does that make him racist? At this point I’m beginning to think this is more a matter of certain Jews hating Mel Gibson rather than the other way around. Kind of ironic, really. They get mad at him for making a movie about their ancestors sending Jesus to die on a cross, and now they’re out to crucify Mel.
Then there’s talk of a cover up in the Sheriff’s department. Apparently a four page initial police report was written but later a shorter one was officially released. I cruised over to TMZ and looked at this report and it seems the ones whose rear ends are being covered are the officers', not Gibson's.
First off, if you’ve ever seen the police report for even the most exciting DUI arrests, it’s rarely two pages long, much less four. Law enforcement officers generally hate writing reports, and the fact that this one goes on so long just shows how excited the officers were about this arrest. I don’t blame them; I would be too if I got to arrest Mel Gibson. However, that’s no excuse for a lack of professionalism. With phrases like “Gibson became more belligerent as he took stock of his predicament” and “Gibson’s conduct concerned and frightened me to a point”, the thing reads less like a report and more like a bad script treatment that some kitchen staff flunky would slip under a restaurant bathroom stall door where Martin Scorsese’s personal assistant is trying to relieve himself.
Did Gibson screw up royally by driving while intoxicated? Yes. Frankly, I think he and anyone who is ever caught driving drunk should do serious jail time. Few offenders do jail time though, so I don’t expect Gibson to face lock up (but heaven knows how people will howl when he doesn’t). Did Gibson screw up royally by making such horrible comments? Yes, and he apologized for them. He publicly expressed disgust for his own words and actions and apologized rather humbly for them. He even admitted that he has started struggling again with his alcohol problem and has put himself into rehab. Even though that restores him a bit in my eyes, there’s talk that this will ruin Gibson’s relationships in Hollywood. If it does, it won’t be for what he did when he was arrested, but what he did afterwards. Celebrities are famous for getting into trouble. Having to apologize for it? That’s a precedent few in Hollywood will appreciate.
I’m not trying to defend Gibson’s actions, but at some point things get out of control with everyone making speculations and accusations. It didn’t take long for it to happen here. No doubt the media will be screaming about this for days to come, especially when the Sheriff’s recording of the incident is released. Poor Lance Bass. He’s going to have to announce he’s gay and pregnant to get his spotlight back.