Respectful Insolence

A chip off the ol’ block?

I’ve written before about Hutton Gibson (Mel Gibson’s father) and serious crank, conspiracy theorist and proud Holocaust denier. I even speculated, based on Mel’s cagey answers to direct questions about the Holocaust, speculating about whether he shares some of Hutton’s beliefs. I ended up guessing that Mel just didn’t want to criticize his father, no matter what a loon he is. I’ve also pointed out Mel’s anti-evolution beliefs.

Well, during an arrest for drunk driving, Mel gave some evidence that perhaps the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree after all. During an arrest for drunk driving, in which he had been going 87 MPH in a 45 MPH zone on Pacific Coast highway near his Malibu home, he unleashed a seriously anti-Semitic (not to mention sexist) tirade:

The actor began swearing uncontrollably. Gibson repeatedly said, “My life is f****d.” Law enforcement sources say the deputy, worried that Gibson might become violent, told the actor that he was supposed to cuff him but would not, as long as Gibson cooperated. As the two stood next to the hood of the patrol car, the deputy asked Gibson to get inside. Deputy Mee then walked over to the passenger door and opened it. The report says Gibson then said, “I’m not going to get in your car,” and bolted to his car. The deputy quickly subdued Gibson, cuffed him and put him inside the patrol car.

TMZ has learned that Deputy Mee audiotaped the entire exchange between himself and Gibson, from the time of the traffic stop to the time Gibson was put in the patrol car, and that the tape fully corroborates the written report.

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, “You mother f****r. I’m going to f*** you.” The report also says “Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he ‘owns Malibu’ and will spend all of his money to ‘get even’ with me.”

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: “F*****g Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson then asked the deputy, “Are you a Jew?”

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson’s tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, “What the f*** do you think you’re doing?”

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, “What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits?”

We’re told Gibson took two blood alcohol tests, which were videotaped, and continued saying how “f****d” he was and how he was going to “f***” Deputy Mee.

Gibson was put in a cell with handcuffs on. He said he needed to urinate, and after a few minutes tried manipulating his hands to unzip his pants. Sources say Deputy Mee thought Gibson was going to urinate on the floor of the booking cell and asked someone to take Gibson to the bathroom.

After leaving the bathroom, Gibson then demanded to make a phone call. He was taken to a pay phone and, when he didn’t get a dial tone, we’re told Gibson threw the receiver against the phone. Deputy Mee then warned Gibson that if he damaged the phone he could be charged with felony vandalism. We’re told Gibson was then asked, and refused, to sign the necessary paperwork and was thrown in a detox cell.

Deputy Mee then wrote an eight-page report detailing Gibson’s rampage and comments. Sources say the sergeant on duty felt it was too “inflammatory.” A lieutenant and captain then got involved and calls were made to Sheriff’s headquarters. Sources say Mee was told Gibson’s comments would incite a lot of “Jewish hatred,” that the situation in Israel was “way too inflammatory.” It was mentioned several times that Gibson, who wrote, directed, and produced 2004’s “The Passion of the Christ,” had incited “anti-Jewish sentiment” and “For a drunk driving arrest, is this really worth all that?”

A link to a PDF of what is claimed to be part of the original police report can be found here.

Sounds like Mel is an angry, rather than a mellow or tearful drunk. I doubt, as Andrew Sullivan claims, that this could be “the end” of Mel Gibson’s career. Many are the stars who have gotten into substance abuse problems, said despicable things, and continued with their career after rehab and “redemption.” And is it just me reading too much into it, or does Sullivan’s claim that insulting Jews in Hollywood will destroy Mel’s career seem to be an implicit statement not unlike what many anti-Semites like to say, namely that the “Jews” control everything and in particular Hollywood? In any case, I don’t share the contention that the Christian right will necessarily reject Mel for his anti-Semitism, either. Indeed, at least a few will applaud it.

In any case, one thing I do agree with Sullivan about is that a modicum of skepticism about this report from a celebrity gossip site is necessary, given its original source. However, ABC News has picked up the story, and Mel has issued an apology:

After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the LA County Sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person. 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. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health.

If the report were largely untrue, would Gibson have felt the need to apologize for saying things that he “does not believe to be true”? One has to wonder if this is more of a case of alcohol breaking down inhibitions, leading this darling of the Christian right to say what he really feels.

ADDENDUM: It turns out that Mel wasn’t quite as drunk as the initial stories made it sound. His blood alcohol level was 0.12% (the limit in most states is 0.08%).

Comments

  1. #1 qetzal
    July 30, 2006

    OTOH, I think he deserves some credit for the frankness of his apology. He didn’t try to deny anything, and he acknowledged that he said despicable things.

    Perhaps he was saying what he really feels, but perhaps not. If his father is a life-long, rabid anti-Semite, Mel probably heard a lot of such talk as a kid. It would certainly have made an impression, even if he rejects it intellectually now. The alcohol may have unleashed an emotional tirade, perhaps similar to some he may have heard from his father, but one that he knows rationally is wrong.

  2. #2 Dean
    July 30, 2006

    It would be a terrible shame if Gibson’s meandrunkeness is used to being down his fine movie, the Passion of the Christ, to the garbage heap that holds such as the the birth of a nation.

  3. #3 TheProbe
    July 30, 2006

    I had no doubt for a long time that he is a Jew-hater, just like his father. I only hope that enough people with ethics decide not to buy his crap movies any longer and put him out of business.

  4. #4 decrepitoldfool
    July 30, 2006

    It is not a fine movie; it is a Christian splatter flick, emotionally bludgeoning its audience.

    Gibson had just enough alcohol in him to make him tell the truth as he saw it.

  5. #5 epador
    July 30, 2006

    Well, at least the apology was direct, no beating around the bush (of course knowing he had been videotaped makes this a little less “from the heart” and more like scripted damage control).

    Speculation is fun, at other’s expense, of course.

    Would be intersting to know if they tested for other drugs of abuse – alcohol plus somthing can make you even more bizarre and say and do things that might not be representative of your normal thought processes.

    If he was in self-destruct mode (as it surely sounds), he may have been saying and acting out in ways he knew were injurious to himself rather than saying what he believes.

    I think its dangerous to draw conclusions as to his personal beliefs based on this incident. However, how this all plays out, and how he responds to the increased scrutiny that is resulting over the long term will likely be telling.

  6. #6 Amy Alkon
    July 30, 2006

    I loathe everything Gibson stands for, but I would like to be referred to as “sugar tits” from now on.

  7. #7 nolo
    July 30, 2006

    I’ve heard drunks say a lot of things they’ve regretted once they were sober, but I’ve never heard one say stuff that wasn’t in his or her pointy little head already.

  8. #8 Orac
    July 30, 2006

    Perhaps he was saying what he really feels, but perhaps not. If his father is a life-long, rabid anti-Semite, Mel probably heard a lot of such talk as a kid. It would certainly have made an impression, even if he rejects it intellectually now. The alcohol may have unleashed an emotional tirade, perhaps similar to some he may have heard from his father, but one that he knows rationally is wrong.

    I would have given Gibson more of the benefit of the doubt if not for his history and other indications suggesting his anti-Semitism and that he might even share in his father’s Holocaust denial.

  9. #9 Mike the Mad Biologist
    July 30, 2006

    Like quetzal, I wonder if Gibson is a ‘reluctant’anti-Semite. In other words, he knows it’s wrong, but having grown up in his father’s house, he hasn’t been able to shed it–it’s just too ingrained in him. This is similar to an alcoholic who grew up in an alcoholic family, knows it’s wrong, and still can’t stop himself.

    I guess I’m thinking quetzal might be right (which doesn’t excuse Gibson). Growing up in the South, I’ve seen similar views towards black people. It’s very sad and pathetic.

  10. #10 Skeptico
    July 30, 2006

    You certainly feel the love of Christ in Mel’s words, don’t you?

  11. #11 wet blanket
    July 30, 2006

    Well his only mistake was using the phrase “the jews”. He should have used “Zionists”. If he did, his rant would have been seen as an astute political observation that was open to debate and not anti-semitic prattle.

  12. #12 TheProbe
    July 30, 2006

    Dear Wet: Jews in the Middle East have been the subject of attack by the Arabs for far longer than the existence of the State of Israel.

    “Palestinian” is a word made up by those Arabs who want you to think that they are somehow different from the rest of the Arabs. The only difference is that in 1948 they were the ones who bought the promise that if they moved out of the way of the almighty Arab armies, they would get more land back after the Jews were exterminated. The problem arose when the Jews did not lay down and die for their convenience, but fought back, and pushed back their borders even more than the Partition granted them.

  13. #13 Lucas McCarty
    July 30, 2006

    I’m fairly sure the word ‘Palestinian’ has been around a very long time before the 20th century. I don’t really take sides in the middle-east conflict because I don’t see the reason why Israel was created except as an answer to the racism they faced everywhere, in which case giving them their own nation wasn’t going to stop that. Whilst at the same time those Arab nations which say they support a Palestinian nation don’t physically support one at all, but they do support various para-militaries intent on destroying Israel. For some reason in Palestine it’s easier to get weapons than it is food, clean water, shelter and electricity and that is largely down to Arab nations.

    Co-incidently, it is the US and Europe who give the most to the Palistinians in aid to get them daily neccessities.

    Back on the other side, I can’t work out why Israel thought it could go further than merely defending itself and actually seize land. Wonderful way to steal and then accuse anyone who criticises it as a nation of anti-semitism and they wonder why they get hated as a nation aswell as Jews.

    And South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone did a very good portrayal of Mel Gibson in their show: utter crazy person.

  14. #14 TheProbe
    July 30, 2006

    When attacked in 1948, 1967 and 1973, Israel learned that it needed defensible borders. Somewhat facetiously, I would say that the Arab countries could not hold onto their own land and wanted to give Israel more land.

    As for the term Palestinian existing…simply, in the last 30 years it has become to mean those Arabs who are not citizens of an Arab country who just happen to live in the Middle East.

    Remember, Partition envisioned two states, on Jewish one Arab. With the creation of the “Palestinian People” as a group separate from other Arabs, Partition will result in three states, one Jewish, on we now call the “Jordan” and the Plaestinian state.

  15. #15 Familydoc
    July 31, 2006

    There is an old Russian proverb –
    “the drunk man says what the sober man thinks”
    By the way – why does he feel the need to f??*k everyone ?
    Is there a shrink in the house?

  16. #16 Alison
    July 31, 2006

    I’m not a big fan of religion in general, but I’m even less of a fan of people who use it as one more source of bigoted rage. Since I stopped supporting Mel Gibson when his whole superfundamentalist, andtisemitic, holocaust-denying, etc. persona came to light, this doesn’t change much for me. Too bad, too, because I really liked “Lethal Weapon”.

  17. #17 Norman Costa
    July 31, 2006

    Familydoc:

    Let’s not forget, “In vino veritas.”

    I was glad to hear his complete and unqualified apology. It sounded heartfelt and I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I am not impressed with apologies that start out with the qualification, “IF I OFFENDED ANYONE…”. I hope he might follow up with a repudiation of his antisemitic remarks when the issue of his DUI is past, and he regains his sobriety. Dealing with venom and vitriol is often part of the alcoholic’s life long recovery in a 12 step program.

  18. #18 Dave S.
    July 31, 2006

    I’m not so inclined to give Gibson any special credit for his frank apology. It’s good to see, but he really had little choice as the incident was taped, and the tape will surely surface sooner or later. This way, he gets to look contrite and can avail himself of the typical American willingness to give someone a second chance if they own up to their faults. I think he is an anti-semite, once removed. He’s not hung up on it like his father, but neither has he rejected those views. I think he’s more conflicted than anything, but that’s just a guess at this point. Also, I doubt very much this incident will have much in the way of lasting effect on his career, although it will provide the late night comedians with material for a few days (focusing mainly on the drunk part of the equation).

    Provided of course there’s not more even worse revelations still to come.

  19. #19 Lucas McCarty
    July 31, 2006

    Ah the famous 12 step program. Saw that in South Park too when Stan’s dad had to attend Alcoholics Anonymous for two weeks after being arrested for drink driving:

    “I didn’t know Alcoholics Anonymous was like a religious thing.”

    “Oh it’s not, you see the first part of the twelve step program is admitting you are powerless to control your drinking. Then you admit you need help from a higer power, God, to beat alcoholism. That’s the twelve step program, not religion.”

    But back to the history of Israel, I would say that the country did not take land to give it defensible borders, otherwise it would never have let settlers live in those places where they are likely to come to harm from hostile neighbours.

    And Palestinians as far as I can see are a distinguishable Arab people and I am actually quite appalled at how they are treated as second-class citizens in other Arab countries; something which further undermines the claim of the Arab League that they support Palistine.

    But Israel has stolen land from aggressors and innocents alike. Because Israel has a serious vision problem when it comes to seeing the difference, she don’t have many friends.

  20. #20 beajerry
    July 31, 2006

    Mel’s tirade is OK under pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

  21. #21 King Aardvark
    July 31, 2006

    Speaking of Israeli-Arab relations, it’s hard to act completely innocent when you take land and kill innocent bystanders like a man I knew (link), a Canadian UN observer.

    That said, it’s not like the surrounding Arab nations can be considered blameless either.

    Mel certainly seems like he has deep-rooted Jew-resentment for some reason. May be the father thing, maybe like what South Park shows, where he’s just crazy.

  22. #22 TheProbe
    July 31, 2006

    Lucas said (my comments will be in line):

    But back to the history of Israel, I would say that the country did not take land to give it defensible borders, otherwise it would never have let settlers live in those places where they are likely to come to harm from hostile neighbours.

    Comment: You are mixing apples and oranges. The borders have nothing to do with what the land was used for after the Arabs “asked” Israel to take it over for them. Take a look at a series of maps of the area starting in 1948 and see how the borders changed.

    And Palestinians as far as I can see are a distinguishable Arab people and I am actually quite appalled at how they are treated as second-class citizens in other Arab countries; something which further undermines the claim of the Arab League that they support Palistine.

    Comment: I see no difference between the so-called Palestinians and the Arabs, except that the former are kept in poverty by their rich Arab hosts.

    But Israel has stolen land from aggressors and innocents alike. Because Israel has a serious vision problem when it comes to seeing the difference, she don’t have many friends.

    Comment: I do not see Israel stealing land from innocents. They have moved into areas where attacks had been launched at them, occupied the territories, and have left, or have offered to leave with appropriate guarantees of peace. The Arab countries refused until Egypt and Jordan saw the wisdom of peace. Since their treaties, there have been no border incidents, no settlements in their countries, and their peoples along the border have economically thrived.

    Israel moved out of southern Lebanon under a UN order. Part of that order was for Hezbollah to disarm and allow the Lebanese government to govern that area. Instead, they did not lay down their weapons, and did just the opposite, i.e. increase their military strength. The fact that they have claimed to have 30,000 missles, virtually none of which are usable for military purposes by Hezbollah and are strictly terror weapons, is the principal cause of the current conflict esclation.

    This conflict is the result of another UN failure.

  23. #23 TheProbe
    July 31, 2006

    Note to Aardvark…

    Hezbollah had routinely used the area around the UN OP for launching missles at Israel (covered by both CNN and Fox). They brought the response. Israel is not solely to blame. As long as Hexbollah uses UN Observers and civilians as human shields, there will be significant civilian casualties. That is the fortunes of a war defined by them.

  24. #24 Denny Smith
    July 31, 2006

    Gibson’s apology was generic and perfunctory. His alcohol-enabled tirade was completely consistent with his ideologic bullying history. Maybe it’s been forgotten, but Gibson has also indulged in ugly homophobic rants in the past, and I don’t think he’s sorry he ever offended anyone. As a gay man who grew up Catholic, I’m revolted by Mel Gibson’s antisemitism and homophobia. The guy deserves to be humbled, big time. Chalking his own behavior up to drunkenness is his infantile way of making himself the victim, just as “Passion of the Christ” tried to give Christians the victimhood they so passionately covet.

  25. #25 Roman Werpachowski
    August 1, 2006

    Orac:

    And is it just me reading too much into it, or does Sullivan’s claim that insulting Jews in Hollywood will destroy Mel’s career seem to be an implicit statement not unlike what many anti-Semites like to say, namely that the “Jews” control everything and in particular Hollywood?

    You assume that Sullivan thinks that only Jews would feel so much offended by Gibson’s anti-semitism that it would hurt his career. If he thinks so, this makes him either silly or anti-semitic. Sullivan might, however, think something like this: people in the USA are, in general, so sensitive to anti-semitism that displaying it might hurt your career a lot. It is true that displaying hatred towards the Poles (to pick an example I know more about) will bring you less flak in America than displaying hatred towards the Jews. This has got to do with many things:
    1. sensitivity because of the Holocaust
    2. propaganda attempts to blame Holocaust on the Poles (“polish concentration camps”, “Poles suck anti-semitism with their mother’s milk”, “Poles were Hitler’s willing helpers”, etc.) and take it away from the Germans
    3. there is no Polish version of the ADL.

  26. #26 Roman Werpachowski
    August 1, 2006

    Addendum:

    It also has got to do with the backwardness and racism of the part of the biggest Polish national organization in the USA, Polish American Congress.

  27. #27 Roman Werpachowski
    August 1, 2006

    beajerry:

    Mel’s tirade is OK under pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

    No, it wouldn’t.

  28. #28 Kiwiwriter
    August 1, 2006

    Well, life imitates art, and Mel imitated the episode of “South Park” about him and his movie.

    I agree with the cliche of “In Vino Veritas,” and Mel was just saying what he really thinks and believes when he was plastered.

    Notice that his apology does not specifically address his anti-Semitic views and beliefs.

    As for damage to his career: If it’s damaged, it’s just more fuel for those who think the Jews run everything. He can become enjoy martyrdom….how dare the Jews deny Mel Gibson his right to get plastered, drive drunk, and abuse cops? Driving while drunk and abusing cops who arrest you are old American traditions! The Jews shouldn’t interfere with that!

    If his career doesn’t get damaged, no surprise there, either…it takes death to wreck a Hollywood career.

  29. #29 Roman Werpachowski
    August 1, 2006

    beajerry:

    Mel’s tirade is OK under pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

    No, it wouldn’t.

    Sorry. Should be “No, it isn’t.” I sometimes forget what exactly am I answering to :)

  30. #30 DJ
    August 2, 2006

    I don’t understand the opinions that Mel Gibson’s apology was “frank” and “direct” and made without “beating about the bush”.

    He says “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.”

    That’s not frank. And it completely beats around the bush. He’s denying that he believes anything he said. This is a falsehood; he believes it to some degree or he would never have said any of it nor repeated it to the point of caricature.

    He starts his statement blaming his drinking, and ends his statement blaming his drinking disease.

    He says he “relapsed”. Sorry, but cancer victims “relapse”. Alcoholics “drink”.

    Repeatedly qualifying his apology makes it no apology at all, in my book.

  31. #31 hollywoodjaded
    August 2, 2006

    I gotta weigh in here: I’m going to agree with Sullivan. Mel is now toast in this town. Aside from his anti-Semitic tirade (not the first time), his comment about “owning Malibu” is like … so, way woo it makes him sound like a nouveau-riche nutcase. Plus, he looks dreadful in those pics and in town where looks-are-everything — this does matter. Take a look at Pitt, he’s only seven years younger than Mel, but it’s hard to believe it with Mel looking so doddering.

    Good summation by Bart here:
    “Variety editor Peter Bart said he had watched this sort of behavior from Gibson for years: ‘Through his incoherent tirades, he has betrayed his friends and colleagues. But most importantly, he has betrayed himself.'”

  32. #32 clone3g
    August 2, 2006

    Amy Said: I loathe everything Gibson stands for, but I would like to be referred to as “sugar tits” from now on.

    This is, so far, best comment of the year.

  33. #33 Chris
    August 6, 2006

    Mel is a drunk bigot!

    http://www.melhatesjews.com

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