Sunday, 30th July 2006
Reuters Sun 30 Jul 2006
Australian actor Mel Gibson is shown on January...
Gibson arrest sparks new accusations of anti-Semitism
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The arrest of Mel Gibson for drunk driving prompted renewed accusations on Sunday that the Oscar-winning director and actor harboured anti-Semitic feelings.
Gibson, whose controversial 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" was a major hit, was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning for allegedly driving his 2006 Lexus at 87 mph (140 kph) along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the beach town north of Los Angeles.
Celebrity Web site TMZ.com posted portions of what it called the arresting deputy's original report, which said Gibson was abusive, shouted anti-Jewish slurs and boasted that he "owned Malibu."
The TMZ report quoted Gibson as saying, "F..... Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." He then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"
Gibson issued a statement on Saturday in which he apologised for driving while drunk and for his "belligerent behaviour" towards the Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs who arrested him.
In his statement the 50-year-old actor said he has "battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."
He added: "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."
The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement on Sunday that Gibson's response was "unremorseful and insufficient" and that his tirade "finally reveals his true self."
Many Jews and others were upset that "The Passion of the Christ" revived ancient Christian accusations that Jews bore responsibility for Jesus' death.
"It's not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism," said ADL national director Abraham Foxman.
"We would hope that Hollywood now would realise the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from this anti-Semite," he said.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that a civilian committee overseeing the sheriff's department would investigate whether officers tried to cover up Gibson's behaviour and statements to save the star from embarrassment.
Gibson rocketed to fame in the late 1970s in the movie "Mad Max" and scored huge box office hits playing a cop in the "Lethal Weapon" movies.
In 1995, he acted in and directed "Braveheart," about 13th century Scottish rebel William Wallace. The movie earned 10 Oscar nominations and won five of the top film awards, including directing for Gibson and best picture of the year.
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