The Anti-Defamation League and Mel Gibson have such a long history of trading press releases, at this point the ADL must have a special Gibson Division. With his latest PR implosion — screenwriter Joe Eszterhas’ nine-page accusatory letter reviving discussions of Gibson’s bigotry, as well as detailing the breakdown of their joint Maccabees project — the organization decided to respond.
“Had these allegations been made against any other actor, we would be skeptical, and certainly one could chalk them up to the words of a disgruntled screenwriter whose script was rejected. But with Mel Gibson, they follow a distinct pattern of anti-Semitic conduct…. The latest revelations would be surprising if not for the fact that it fits nicely into a pattern of a serial offender, a serial hater, and a serial bigot,” ADL director Abraham Foxman said.
In the letter, Ezsterhas indicts Gibson specifically for using anti-Jewish slurs like “Hebes” and “oven dodgers.” In his own response, Gibson has called these claims “utter fabrications,” which the ADL acknowledges in their statement.
Foxman’s response refers not only to accusations that Gibson’s blockbuster The Passion of the Christ had anti-Semitic underpinnings, but also to the actor’s 2006 DUI arrest, during which he drunkenly spewed lines like, “F—ing Jews…the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
“By now the pattern is clear,” Foxman continues in the statement. “And we know that Gibson was infected early on in his life with anti-Semitism. If the latest allegations are true, it proves the point that anti-Semitism is a disease that is passed from generation to generation, and that can only be stopped by early intervention and education.” All of those “ifs” in Foxman’s statement should be noted, and are probably in there because Eszterhas isn’t quite Edward R. Murrow when it comes to credibility (back in 1989, he used his epistolary venom to go after super-agent Mike Ovitz in a similar scorched-earth fashion) and it must be strange to stand on the same moral high ground as the writer of Showgirls.