Gibson’s drink drive arrest and alleged anti-Semitic and sexist remarks last Friday could cost him more than a few weeks of embarrassment and a place in Hollywood’s hall of shame.
The Australian-raised actor-director’s publicist, Alan Nierob, told AP that Gibson, 50, was in bad shape, adding “the guy is trying to stay alive”.
“He has entered into an ongoing program of recovery,” he said.
Gibson has battled alcoholism for three decades.
Just two years ago, Forbes magazine dubbed Gibson “the most powerful celebrity in the world” following his self-funded $A39 million film The Passion of the Christ earned close to $A1.3 billion in box office, DVD, video and merchandising sales and Gibson collected a large share of the proceeds.
But Gibson’s alleged outburst, which included a comment that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”, has caused public outrage.
Gibson already had been accused of anti-Semitism in his movie, The Passion of the Christ. For some, his alleged drunken tirade confirmed the allegations were true.
Ari Emanuel, one of the Hollywood’s top agents, called on the entertainment industry to not “idly stand by and allow Mel Gibson to get away with such tragically inflammatory statements”.
“People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line,” said the partner in Beverly Hills-based talent agency Endeavor.
Barbara Walters, one of America’s most respected journalists, announced on US TV today: “I don’t think I want to see any more of Mel Gibson’s movies”.
Gibson has two upcoming projects and now doubt hangs over both.
Apocalypto, a film Gibson directed that is set for release in December, is to be distributed by conservative Hollywood studio, Disney.
Gibson’s other project, a Holocaust TV miniseries about a young Dutch Jew during World War II, most likely will cause a furore if it goes ahead.
Jewish leaders have labelled the project “inappropriate”.
Caught drink driving
Gibson’s woes began at about 2.30am on Friday when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy James Mee allegedly recorded him driving near his Malibu beachside home at 140 kph, well over the 72 kph speed limit.
A blood-alcohol test recorded a 0.12 per cent reading, exceeding California’s legal limit of 0.08.
Mee’s police report alleged Gibson launched an obscene tirade when he realised he would be arrested. Mee wrote that Gibson attempted to escape arrest by running to his car.
Mee’s report also alleged a three-quarter full 750 ml bottle of Cazadores Tequila was found in Gibson’s Lexus vehicle “within easy reach of Gibson while he had been driving”.
Speaking at his home near Malibu, deputy sheriff Mee, who is Jewish, said he did not want to ruin Gibson’s career.
“I don’t take pride in hurting Mr Gibson,” Mee told AP.
“What I had hoped out of this is that he would think twice before he gets behind the wheel of a car and was drinking.”
It was Mee’s report that included Gibson’s alleged anti-Semitic remarks. It also included the derogatory comment Gibson allegedly made to a female sergeant: “What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits?”.
Gibson’s mug shot taken after his arrest depicts the actor, dressed in a checked collared shirt, looking into the Sheriff’s camera, a couple of hairs out of place but his famous blue eyes and a slight smirk present.