So I have been debating about whether or not to post about Mel Gibson. I usually try to avoid getting too involved in the ridiculous celebrity scene with this blog. It just seems that the whole scandal has not gone away. There is not any way to defend what Gibson said. Some people have tried to say that "we all have said things that we didn't mean when we were drunk." Having never been drunk, I have no clue. But what I have noticed is that excessive alcohol just lowers inhibitions and makes people more likely to do things they want to. And they say things that they try to keep buried the rest of the time. Having read what Gibson's father believes, and hearing the rumors that have been swirling for years around Mel, I wouldn't be surprised if he harbors some of those thoughts. Or at least he fights wth those thoughts - even if he didn't beleive them. I know that I heard my father say things so much that it became easy for me to lean in that direction in my opinions.
Again, none of that is to defend what Mel said. He said unbelievably stupid stuff and took shots at several groups. His comments were not just stupid, though, they were hateful and hurtful. Now, what I have a problem with is the aftermath. We get People magazine and Entertainment Weekly. Both of them ran front page promotion of articles about his heinous acts. And they both have revisited the story the next week. News sites still are reporting on the story now - weeks later. People are calling for boycotts of Gibson and his movies. Others are saying that they will never work with him again (Rob Schneider - was that even a consideration?). Still others say he should just be banished from Hollywood all together. I read some guy online who said he would never watch Braveheart again.
Sooooo, that's how Hollywood handles people who believe stupid stuff? Well, let's think about this. Roman Polanski was charged with statutory rape and fled the country. He got nominated for an Oscar in 2003 - and won. There is still an outstanding warrant for his arrest. There are dozens of high-rolling people in Hollywood that believe in aliens as deities and act like raving lunatics (Tom Cruise, paging Tom Cruise). Actors like Collin Farrell enter substance abuse facilities all the time. Instead of banishing them from Hollywood they get more and more roles, even though they haven't ever had a big movie to deserve the support. Robert Downey Jr was such a problem at one point that insurance companies would not even let a studio get a policy for him during a shoot.
Hollywood has never had a problem overlooking all kinds of things. They overlook marriages being broken up, drug use, domestic violence, moronic comments, alcoholism, wacky political stances, strange religious beliefs, and out-of-control lifestyles. So why won't they move past Mel's night of drinking and mouth-running? I think that part of it is that Mel put himself on the front lines with his Passion of the Christ movie. His religious beliefs became part of what identified him. He went from Crazy Funloving Mel to Religious Mel. And that was when things went nuts. He decided to stop acting and only direct. His projects became more ambitious - filmed in dead languages, based on fringe historical characters. He was now perceived as serious. And that was where this craziness didn't match up.
People were used to seeing him in his long beard, building his private church, talking about serious things. And the drunken bit didn't fit. And the hateful comment surely didn't fit. And when he had become associated with the Christian community, that added an extra layer. When he tripped, a major Christian symbol tripped. And that was where a lot of these people took sick joy in watching him mess up. They loved saying, "Oh is this how a Christian acts?" Personally, I think this why it became such a big story -- because it made Christians look stupid. And that is why it is still a story. Other people have said racist comments - on all different sides of the fence. They don't get banned from Hollywood. But Mel is fighting for his career. Seems awfully weird to me. But what do I know? Personally, I hope Mel recovers quickly, gets his life turned around, and works it out with the people he hurt. He is too good of an actor, a director, and a person to toss him aside. Now is one of the times that I would be happy if Hollywood did overlook some moron's acting like an idiot.