Following what appears to have been a cast and crew revolt against the film’s director and producers, actor Mel Gibson has reportedly been dumped from his cameo role in the sequel to last year’s vulgar hit The Hangover. The rebuke of the misogynistic, anti-Jewish, anti-gay former movie star, a Catholic fundamentalist who makes blood pornography and obviously knows how to put on an act, is at least four years overdue.
Back in early 2004, when Gibson refused to admit the press for screenings of his Passion of the Christ in favor of church screenings, I wrote in an online commentary (“Jesus Christ Superscar”): “Pain is at the core of [his] bloody Braveheart, gruesome The Patriot, tortured Mad Max and nearly every picture Gibson has made. His movies, including Ransom, Conspiracy Theory and Lethal Weapon, show that torment is his stock in trade.” I later observed that Gibson’s Judeo-Christian display of blood, sweat and self-sacrifice was a kind of companion propaganda film to Michael Moore’s popular piece of left-wing dogma, Fahrenheit 9/11, also released in 2004.
By the summer of 2006, with news of Gibson’s first publicly acknowledged tirade against gays, Jews, and women, I wrote that Hollywood’s silent sanction of Gibson’s behavior and ideas was pathetic. Following one of Gibson’s unapologetic “apologies”, it fell to an 89-year-old Jew, Kirk Douglas, writing in Variety, to put the matter in perspective: “Within the deep recesses of his mind, there apparently lies a cancerous sore of hatred for the Jews…Mel’s first apology was too contrite and seemingly not remorseful. His second was an afterthought—oh yes, about those Jews.” In the wake of a heavily hyped interview on Disney’s television network, promoting Gibson’s imminent Apocalypto for the studio, I criticized Disney in a column for giving Gibson “a platform to equivocate about his anti-Jewish views, essentially blaming the outburst on those who criticized his commercially popular religious picture, The Passion of the Christ.” I can’t think of more just deserts for Mel Gibson, who was once capable of creating decent and enjoyable movie roles, than being fired from a production that’s sure to be as low, crude and disgusting as The Hangover 2.