Jewish groups call for hate-crime probe on Mel Gibson
JEWISH groups have demanded Mel Gibson be investigated for hate crimes after the Hollywood star allegedly made anti-Semitic comments to US police officers when he was stopped on suspicion of drink-driving and speeding.
Gibson's reported criticism of Jews, contained in a leaked police report detailing his arrest early on Friday morning, included the phrase: "F*****g Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."
He has since apologised for his actions, saying they were "despicable", but community Jewish leaders called for Gibson to be ostracised from Hollywood, where the A-list actor is considered an industry powerbroker.
Calling for a criminal investigation into the Oscar-winning actor and director's remarks, Abraham Foxman, the national director of the US Jewish Anti-Defamation League, said: "We believe there should be consequences to bigots and bigotry."
Gibson, 50, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after deputies clocked his Lexus sports car speeding at 87mph in a 45mph zone at 2:36am on Friday in Malibu, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
The actor was later found to have a blood-alcohol ratio of 0.12.The legal limit in California is 0.08, according to the police records.
After Gibson was pulled over, a bizarre melee ensued that apparently involved Gibson trying to escape, his alleged propositioning of an arresting officer with lurid, explicit suggestions and claims that, while handcuffed in the back of a police car, Gibson threatened a deputy, saying he "owns Malibu" and will spend all of his money to "get even" with the officer.
He also allegedly asked an arresting officer if he was Jewish.
Gibson was taken to a police station in Malibu, where he allegedly threatened an officer, smashed a payphone and attempted to urinate in a cell.
He was released after about five hours in custody, on $6,600 (3,550) bail. Police will decide this week whether to charge him.
Controversy now surrounds the police report into the incident, with claims emerging that it was rewritten because senior officers considered it to be "too inflammatory" and feared that it could incite a lot of "Jewish hatred".
Gibson has in the past angered Jewish groups over his portrayal of the role of the Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus in his largely self-funded movie, The Passion of the Christ, which went on to take $611 million (328 million) at the box office.
Now, many in the industry are asking how Gibson can reconcile his comments with his position as one of Hollywood's most powerful players.
Nikki Finke, a columnist for LA Weekly and prominent chronicler of Hollywood, pointed out the "the overwhelmingly negative response" among Jewish audiences to The Passion of the Christ.
She also said several top Jewish executives have pledged privately never again to work with Gibson as a result.
However, Ms Finke said that in his daily schedule Gibson "works closely with many Jewish VIPs at talent agencies, law firms, and at the studio".
But she questioned whether a factual TV mini-series about the Holocaust that Gibson announced he was developing late last year would now be "too hot to handle".
Gibson, a Christian fundamentalist, has in past refused to criticise his father, Hutton, who has been labelled a Holocaust denier over comments claiming the Holocaust was "mostly" fiction.
The Australian actor has released an apology for his actions.
"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed," he said.
"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.
"I am deeply ashamed of everything I said.
"I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."
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