Looks like Mel Gibson has confirmed a hostility toward Jews that many were accusing him of during the imbroglio over "The Passion"
Lt. Steve Smith, in charge of the detective bureau for the Malibu/Lost Hills station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, confirmed to me just now that "the contents seem to be similar" between the official reports and the four pages posted by TMZ.com on the Internet alleging Mel Gibson "blurted out a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks" -- "fucking Jews" and "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" and asking the arresting deputy "Are you a Jew?" -- during his DUI arrest early Friday morning. Smith denied TMZ.com's charge that the sheriff's department was involved in a "cover-up" of Gibson's alleged anti-Semitic tirade detailed in deputy Jim Mee's first arrest report. "TMZ has learned that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department had the initial report doctored to keep the real story under wraps," the website claims. But Smith told me emphatically, "There's no whitewash. I've seen the first report, and the supplemental report, and it looks to be the same thing as what's on the Internet. The contents that are on the Internet are covered in both those reports." That is the first official confirmation from the Sheriff's station that Gibson's alleged anti-Semitic rants are included in the official reports about his DUI arrest.My Comments:
UPDATE: *Gibson issued a statement today apologizing for his drunk driving arrest and saying he has battled alcoholism throughout his life. The Oscar-winning filmmaker also apologized for what he said were "despicable" "out of control" statements "that I do not believe to be true" made to the deputies who arrested him early Friday morning on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. But though his statement seems to confirm he made the anti-Semitic slurs, it does not specifically admit them or apologize for them.
I still don't believe there was anything remotely anti-Semitic about "The Passion" (apart from its director, that is).UPDATE
G. Thomas Fitzpatrick at Recta Ratio
notes that "war brings a discreditable plague of anti-Jewish sentiment
" amongst some in the traditional Catholic community.
Which brings me to the primary reason this Mel Gibson episode is so upsetting to me. Many of us conservative and traditional Catholics came to the defense of Mel and "The Passion" when they were being attacked by Hollywood, the ADL, and even liberal Catholics as being insensitive to Jews. We saw the attacks for what they really were: attacks on the Gospels themselves and the teachings of the Church.
Now those same folks against whom we defended "The Passion" and, indeed, the Church, are gloating because of Mel's clearly anti-semitic worldview. Mel has discredited not only himself, but the Gospel itself in the mind of those who now might be willing to view "The Passion", the Gospels, and the traditional teachings of the Church in light of Mel's recent comments.
The next time someone wants to make a movie that portrays some aspects of the Gospels that Jewish people might find offensive, the Mel Gibson canard will be thrown out in an effort to discredit that effort. Every time the issue of traditional Catholic devotion comes up in the public arena, in the back of the minds of those unfamiliar with traditional Catholicism will be that Mel Gibson is one, and that he is an anti-Semite.
Mel Gibson (and, by extension, those Catholics who share his sentiments) has done far more than harm just himself by his actions and comments.UPDATE # 2
Tom Haessler, commenting at Amy Welborn's blog
, says essentially the same thing:
If it's true I'm deeply saddened. I debated with many liberals insisting that Mel was not anti-Semitic even though his eccentric dad was for certain. Fortunately, this will give a black eye to radtradism and sedevacantism, but I'm certain that the average guy or gal in the street thinks he's a "Catholic", not understanding how schism deprives one of membership in the Church.
If this isn't true, it's certainly one of the most scurilous lies in many a moon - but I fear it is true.
Despite all this, the film needs to be evaluated as a work of art regardless of the character (or psychiatric issues?) of the director. I continue to believe that it's a moving icon that deserves recognition as a great work of art. But it's time to insist more than ever that private "revelations" of pious nuns (really personal meditations), whether unapproved (like the POEM OF THE GOD MAN) or approved (like Anne Catherine Emmerich's) must be acknowledged to have problematic features (like survivals of old-fashioned Christian anti-Semitism) as well as potential for nuturing piety.
We need to pray here for damage control AND for Mel, personally.
Score one for the progressive theologians who now will be doing the "I told you so" dance.