Is Hollywood ready to forgive Mel Gibson for his anti-Semitic rants, abusive phone calls to his ex-girlfriend, and other transgressions?
A plea to Tinseltown by Jewish journalist Allison Hope Weiner, published on the 10th anniversary of the release of Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" this month, calls for an end to the star's "quiet blacklisting."
The freelancer, who describes herself as an observant Jew, urged: "Hollywood, take Mel Gibson off your blacklist."
Hope Weiner has reported on the star's offensive outbursts, including his anti-Semitic rant when arrested for drunk-driving eight years ago, and says that today she considers him to be a friend.
“He has been in the doghouse long enough. It’s time to give the guy another chance," she wrote in the more than 3,400-word piece on Deadline Hollywood, a site popular with folks in the movie business.
The plea certainly sparked debate, with more than 5,700 comments on the op-ed on Yahoo.com’s movie page, and more than 800 on Deadline Hollywood itself, according to Bloomberg.
The 58-year-old Gibson's movies, which include blockbusters such as "Braveheart" and the "Mad Max" series, have grossed around $3.6 billion, Bloomberg said. But still, forgiveness is no mean feat. Major Hollywood studios “are either wary of him or prefer not to work with him,” Deadline Hollywood’s film editor, Michael Fleming, told Bloomberg. “I am surprised this has lasted this long. The guy has made a lot of people a lot of money."
To forgive Gibson “is not the same thing as forgiving Lindsay Lohan for partying too late,” Bloomberg cited Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, author and an associate professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, as saying. “Anti-Semitism is not just behaving badly.”
Today, Gibson is a "different man" said Weiner, who charged Hollywood with hypocrisy for working "with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson."
Weiner purposefully published the piece on the 10th anniversary of "The Passion of the Christ," which Gibson produced, directed and co-wrote. She described the film as “about an innocent man’s willingness to forgive the greatest injustice.”
Incidentally, when the movie came out, it was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and others for being anti-Semitic.