Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mel Gibson, At It Again

He's at it again! Yes, it's Mel Gibson who, in July, 2006 was arrested for Driving Under the Influence in Malibu, California referred to "f****** Jews," and told the Jewish arresting officer, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" and "are you a Jew?"

After successfully completing a three-year term of probation, the celebrated actor convinced a judge in October to expunge the record of his arrest. However, Gibson's character was on display in an interview recently held to promote his newest film, Edge of Darkness. CNN reports (video below)

In a video that has now gone viral, Gibson let an expletive slip while he was still wearing a microphone and appearing on camera for a segment on Chicago's WGN-TV with reporter Dean Richards.

Richards asked Gibson if he felt like he was "a different person, a better person," than he was four or five years ago, noting that the actor has "had a lot of ups and downs" since then....

During the interview with Richards, Gibson responded that the past few years have been "a real roller coaster ride," but said he thinks he's the same person he always was.

Richards then asked Gibson if he felt the public would receive him differently, at which point Gibson became visibly agitated.

"That's been almost four years, dude," he told Richards. "I've moved on. But I guess you haven't." Richards said he just wondered whether Gibson thought the public had moved on, to which Gibson replied, "Well, I certainly hope so. That was a while back, and I've done all the necessary mea culpas, so ... let's move on, dude."

Richards wrapped up the interview with a standard thank-you-for-coming, and Gibson, drinking coffee, gave the reporter a thumbs-up before muttering a loud-and-clear "a--hole" right into his mic before the satellite feed was cut.

Shortly before this incident, Gibson had been asked by Sam Rubin, a reporter with a CNN affiliate, about the impact of the earlier anti-Semitic comments on his absence from acting. Gibson denied the remarks and asked "I gather you have a dog in this fight?" (for which he later apologized).

At the time, Gibson blamed his behavior in the drunken driving incident on alcoholism. That episode, as well as Gibson's most recent remark, suggests a distaste for Jews, which may or may not be connected with his apparent membership in the extremist, Roman Catholic offshoot Opus Dei.

This is not a mere PC problem, and goes far beyond Rahm Emanuel's recent use of the word "retarded" (combined with an obscenity). It's not only anti-Semitism with Gibson; it may also be something more common, but more intrinsic to his personality. On his blog, Richards wrote

You've probably seen the interview by now. It was pleasant enough for the first half but as my questions became more challenging, his tone and even physical demeanor changed. I asked about his 7 year absence. I asked if he is a changed person as a result of the time off that he described. When I asked if the he thought the public would perceive him differently, that's when the tide really turned.

He used his stock "I've gotten past all that, you should too, dude" line that I heard him use on other reporters who dared to ask a tough question. He clearly became angry and confrontational. That was not my hope. I just wanted to learn what he had learned since his troubles.

"I've gotten past all that, you should too, dude." "Let's move on, dude." Gibson wasn't physically present for his interview with the WGN reporter, but those remarks are all too consistent with his behavior in 2006 at the scene and at the police station. Without delving into psychobabble, this is a rude, belligerent bully (probably the major parallel to Emanuel). Richards explained

I didn't brow beat him. I didn't make a judgment on him. I didn't dredge out all of the details of his "incidents" until he pretended like he didn't know what I was talking about and asked me what I meant. Apparently, he thought I'd back off.

It may not be surprising that Gibson figures he's entitled to such behavior. Reuters reported

In the incident in 2006, "Gibson was permitted to leave the sheriff's station in Malibu without providing a palm print or signing a statement promising to appear in court as required. A sheriff's sergeant also gave Gibson a ride to a tow yard to retrieve his car without clearing with it station commanders."

Sheriff's officers were disciplined, but California politicians got the message. Powerful celebrities in Hollywood are not to be trifled with. Wikipedia reports

As a result of the circumstances surrounding Gibson’s arrest, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, proposed legislation ("Mel's Law") that would criminalize the sale of privileged information pertaining to the arrests of high-profile suspects. The lawmaker argued that Mel Gibson's due process rights were violated by the unauthorized leak of prejudicial allegations before he had received due process. Bill AB920 was approved unanimously by both the California state assembly in May 2007 and the state senate in September 2007, and the bill was signed into law by the governor in October 2007.

Privilege will be served. Under pressure, Rahm Emanuel apologizes, and the White House scurries about to satisfy the demands of the Special Olympics folks. Whether there is a similar reaction to Mel Gibson, a serial offender, we'll find out in the next several days.

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