PREACH IT! Keep digging, Mel Gibson. Keep digging.

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Oh, Mel Gibson, so humbled by the fallout from his 2006 anti-Semitic meltdown. So at peace with his past. So prepared to re-enter the spotlight.

Or not.

Earlier this week, Gibson engaged in a tense interview with a reporter from WGN TV. First, the reporter asked if Gibson sensed any difference in the public’s perception of him since his post-arrest rant against Jews.


“That was almost four years ago, dude. I’ve moved on, I guess you haven’t,” Mel snapped at reporter Dean Richards. “I’ve done all the necessary mea culpas, so let’s move on, dude, come on.” (Gibson later threw in an expletive that seemed to be aimed at the reporter.)

This isn’t the first time that Gibson has gotten snitty in the face of really obvious questions. In another recent interview, KTLA reporter Sam Rubin floated the idea that some fans may not be ready to see Gibson return to movies.

‘I gather you have a dog in this fight?’ Gibson asked Rubin, who is Jewish.

Right, right, because if the reporter is Jewish, his question isn’t a question, but instead a cruelly biased ploy. A massive, Jewish, Hollywood conspiracy, if you will.

Gibson’s continued tantrums give us a unique window not into bigotry, but into megastardom. In Mel World, a couple of statements and some vague promise to work with the “Jewish community” should be enough for everybody. Nothing more to see here, kids, except my new movie.

But when a star offends so many people on such a shocking scale, that kind of lip service doesn’t even come close. Gibson has yet to demonstrate an acceptance of the public’s ongoing anger and mistrust -- or the fact that his statements, no matter how numerous or how well-meaning, weren’t effective enough on their own to heal his image. It never occurs to Gibson that some people simply don’t feel like obeying the Mel Gibson timetable for “moving on” -- that some folks may simply need more time. Overall, Gibson must realize that his public -- you know, the people who pay him -- deserve respect for their feelings, whether Gibson can even understand them or not.

Instead, we’ve gotten the equivalent of an angry spanking: You will accept Gibson’s method of handling all this, you will move on -- on Gibson’s schedule, not yours -- and you will hand over your 8 bucks for Gibson’s next movie with no further mention of this inconvenient speed bump.

For the record, Gibson has apologized again, in his own adorable way. He reportedly called Rubin to offer a personal mea culpa (see video below), and later said in a French TV appearance he is trying to “work on” his “short fuse.” Gibson also has offered an explanation for the expletive incident. The curse word wasn’t intended for the WGN reporter, see, it was aimed at Gibson’s publicist.


--Leslie Gornstein

What, this hit of PREACH IT! isn’t enough for you? Click here.

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Also from The Times:

Mel Gibson: The shadow in his smile


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