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Gibson’s Newest ‘Lethal Weapon’ -- His Mouth

This may be the first and only time you’ll see the phrase “sugar tits” in one of my columns, and ironically, the man who made it possible is Oscar winning actor-director Mel Gibson, a devout Christian.

Gibson allegedly used that remark on a female sergeant after his Friday arrest in Malibu on suspicion of drunk driving. To be precise, Gibson is said to have asked:

“What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits?”

I can’t recall a line that original in any of his movies. But it can’t possibly have sat well with Mrs. Gibson, or with the Gibsons’ seven children, or with the millions of true believers who flocked to see the Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ.”

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To them, such a vulgar comment must feel like a slap in the face, and I imagine it’s hard to simply turn the other cheek.

Especially when you consider that Gibson was allegedly doing 80 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway at 2:30 in the morning with a bottle of tequila in his Lexus, and that he dropped F-bombs like a sailor when he got pulled over. It was F this and F that, an R-rated performance start to finish. When he got to the station, he reportedly tried to smash a phone and urinate in his cell.

Where does the penance begin? A hundred thousand rosaries and six months of Hail Marys?

And that’s not even the half of it. The word is that Gibson -- who once starred in a movie called “The Year of Living Dangerously” -- tried to bolt the scene of his arrest and verbally threatened the arresting deputy. There’s no telling what Gibson might have tried to do if he was still carrying the sword he wielded in “Braveheart.”

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Once he’d been cuffed, Gibson threatened the deputy that he’d get even with him because Gibson owns Malibu.

I thought mogul Jerry Perenchio owned Malibu.

It sounds like maybe the tequila was doing the talking in those wee hours Friday, and I, for one, would like to know where Mr. Family Man was half the night.

To make matters even worse, Gibson allegedly had some kind of a fit about Jews during the arresting process.

“The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” Gibson is said to have opined, asking the arresting deputy: “Are you a Jew?”

This guy needs help. He sees one flashing red light and thinks the Jews are after him. Imagine driving down the highway in the middle of the night and seeing Mel Gibson on the side of the road in handcuffs, not far from David Geffen’s place, blaming the Jews for everything.

Just from a pure PR sense, it’s probably not smart to one day angrily reject criticism that “The Passion of the Christ” is anti-Semitic, and then suddenly turn into Hezbollah Mel on PCH.

Fortunately, for professional columnists, the story doesn’t end there.

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When Gibson was collared, an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokesman told reporters the famous actor had been arrested “without incident.”

Makes you wonder what the Sheriff’s Department counts as an “incident.”

Only when the celebrity news website TMZ.com got involved in the case did a different version of the story surface. TMZ reported that Sheriff’s Department supervisors tried to sanitize the arrest report, omitting Gibson’s more offensive behavior and comments.

Sheriff Lee Baca denied any coverup, but the department’s civilian oversight committee is investigating. As Mike Gennaco of the Office of Independent Review told The Times:

“I’d like to see if there was a legitimate law enforcement reason for asking that the report be altered.”

I can’t think of any, but if Gibson did indeed get special treatment, I think there’s a lesson to be learned. It couldn’t have hurt Gibson’s cause that he has served as celebrity rep for the Sheriff’s Star Organization, or that he donated $10,000 to the stepdaughter of a slain deputy.

I don’t know if I can match the donation, but I am willing to don a deputy’s uniform, as Gibson did, and appear in a public service announcement for the department.

By chance, I was at a Malibu soiree Sunday and I’ve got another one scheduled for next weekend. With all that partying and driving on PCH, it can’t hurt to write a check to one or more of the Sheriff’s Department’s favorite causes.

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It’s worth noting that although the Sheriff’s Department didn’t release a mug shot of Gibson, it seemed to have no qualms about sharing that embarrassing wild-beast photo of actor Nick Nolte when he got popped for drunk driving in 2002.

If only Nolte had had the foresight to do a public service announcement before getting tanked. And it couldn’t have hurt actor Robert Downey Jr.'s cause, either.

Until further notice, there ought to be warning signs at the Malibu town limits.

“Caution: Hollywood actors on road next 27 miles.”

When the tequila wore off the day after his arrest, Gibson issued a written apology for his “despicable” behavior, saying he was “deeply ashamed of everything I said.” He said he had battled alcoholism in the past and added, “I profoundly regret my horrific relapse.”

I’m sure he does, and I wish him well with his recovery. But it’s amazing what we can learn about someone when his blood-alcohol level hits 1 1/2 times the legal limit, drowning all inhibition.

Just out of curiosity, I’d like to try some of what Gibson was drinking.

I’ve had a few shots of tequila in my time, but never got looped enough to ask someone wearing a badge, “What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits?”

I’m praying for you, Mel.

Reach the columnist at steve.lopez@latimes.com


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