Mel Gibson’s drunk driving arrest and reported anti-Semitic jailhouse tirade this weekend got me thinking. There’s no way to categorize Gibson’s alleged remarks — see the bombshell police report obtained by TMZ.com here — as anything other than totally offensive and creepy. (The full report has not been made public, but the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that it had independently verified its authenticity.)
And despite the fact that Gibson later issued a statement apologizing “to anyone who I have offended” and “to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior,” I can’t help but wonder: Don’t a lot of folks tend to express their truest feelings when they’re inebriated? (I mean, after a few glasses of wine, I typically slur ”I lurrrve you” to family and friends before launching into a rousing rendition of ”Me and Bobby McGee.” But I digress…)
addCredit(“Mel Gibson: Queen/WireImage.com”)
Anyhow, here’s the question I’ve been asking myself, and I’m wondering how you’d answer it too: If Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant is confirmed to be true (according to TMZ, the entire arrest was captured on audio tape), would it stop you from seeing his movies ever again? And before you answer, consider these questions: What if a few years from now, Gibson’s got one of the frontrunners in the Oscar race? Or what if he filmed the movie adaptation of your favorite book, starring your favorite actor or actress? Would that affect your decision?
I guess what it boils down to is how much each one of us can separate a celebrity’s personal beliefs from his or her work. But as my sister said to me when we were discussing Gibson this weekend, “If the guy who owned my local coffee shop made anti-Semitic remarks like that in public, I wouldn’t give him my business. I’d go somewhere else. It’s as simple as that.” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, contends that Gibson’s response was “unremorseful and insufficient” and is hoping that the entire movie industry, not just consumers, gives Gibson the cold shoulder. “We would hope that Hollywood now would realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from this anti-Semite,” he told Reuters. (Hollywood execs appear split on the fate of Gibson’s career.)
As for myself, well, considering how many great books, movies, and TV shows I end up missing in a typical year, I’m thinking I’ll have plenty of alternatives to Apocalypto come this winter. Maybe I’ll use its Dec. 8 release date to finally watch my DVD of Dreamer, starring the delightful Dakota Fanning. And ponies! ‘Cause everyone loves ponies.
How about you, PopWatchers?