Mel Gibson's Latest Drama Stars Himself

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By William Booth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 30, 2006

LOS ANGELES, July 29 -- In the early morning hours Friday on a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, actor and director Mel Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Embarrassing? Certainly. Reckless? Dangerous? Sad? Possibly.

Then things got worse.

After he was stopped, handcuffed and put into a police cruiser, Gibson reportedly launched into an anti-Semitic tirade punctuated by obscenities, threats and sexually abusive language, according to the celebrity gossip Web site TMZ.com, which on Saturday posted four pages of a handwritten report from the arresting officer. In the report, which appears to be a chronology of the arrest, Gibson boasted that he "owns Malibu" and ranted about "[expletive] Jews" and how "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department would not comment Saturday on the release of the arrest narrative by TMZ, but sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore earlier promised that "nothing will be sanitized. There is absolutely no favoritism shown for the suspect." The case is still being investigated, and the Web site said Gibson's encounter with officers once he reached the sheriff's station was videotaped by the police.

The alleged anti-Semitic rant could prove especially damaging for the Oscar-winning director of "Braveheart," who also made the religious blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ," a movie about the Crucifixion. The film was controversial in part because some feared it would incite anti-Semitism and also because it was revealed that director's father, Hutton Gibson, had made statements denying the Holocaust, calling it "mostly" fiction.

In his own remarks at the time, Mel Gibson acknowledged the tragedy of the Holocaust but has also appeared to downplay its immensity. In an interview in 2004, Gibson said, "Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps."

ABC Television is working with Gibson's company, Con Artists Productions, on a miniseries dramatization of Holocaust survivor Flory Van Beek's memoirs.

On Saturday, before the details of his tirade became widely known, Gibson issued a statement through his publicist in which he apologized for his "despicable" behavior and confessed that he has been struggling with alcoholism for most of his adult life.

"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed," Gibson said in his statement. "The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person. 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."

Gibson went on: "I am deeply ashamed of everything I said. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health."

The L.A. sheriff's office reported that Gibson was clocked driving over 80 mph in a 45 mph zone in his 2006 Lexus sedan and that when a deputy smelled booze on Gibson's breath, the 50-year-old actor and director of was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent. The legal limit in California is 0.08 percent.

Gibson posted a $5,000 bond and was released Friday morning after spending several hours in lockup. His mug shot has not been made available.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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