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Posts tagged ‘Jodie Foster’

Plea to Take Mel Gibson Off ‘Blacklist’ Sparks Hollywood Debate.

Image: Plea to Take Mel Gibson Off 'Blacklist' Sparks Hollywood Debate

Eight years after Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant during a drunk-driving arrest, Hollywood is debating the rehabilitation of an Oscar winner who was once one of the industry’s most bankable stars.

The heated discussion was sparked by a March 12 opinion piece in Deadline Hollywood by Allison Hope Weiner, a freelance writer who covered Gibson’s infamous spiral out of favor and now considers him a friend. Her appeal for an end to what she called a “quiet blacklisting” has generated more than 5,700 comments on’s movie page and more than 800 on the Deadline Hollywood site, which is read by many in the industry.

“He has been in the doghouse long enough,” Weiner wrote. “It’s time to give the guy another chance.”

Gibson’s movies, from “Mad Max” to “Braveheart” and “Apocalypto,” have grossed $3.6 billion, according to Rentrak Corp., providing an incentive for studios and agencies to consider absolution. His particular transgressions, and the number of them over the years, mean it’s unlikely to come easy.

Forgiving Gibson “is not the same thing as forgiving Lindsay Lohan for partying too late,” said Elizabeth Currid- Halkett, author of “Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity” and an associate professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “Anti-Semitism is not just behaving badly.”

While the 58-year-old still directs and acts — he recently completed production as a co-star with Sylvester Stallone on “Expendables 3” — major studios “are either wary of him or prefer not to work with him,” said Michael Fleming, Deadline Hollywood’s film editor. “I am surprised this has lasted this long. The guy has made a lot of people a lot of money.”

Malibu Tirade

The back-and-forth by commentators on Weiner’s piece boils down to a bygone question in Hollywood: whether what someone says or does off screen, however repugnant, should have any effect on his fitness to make movies.

Gibson is a long-running case in point. The hits to his reputation aren’t limited to those from his tirade about Jews being “responsible for all the wars in the world,” delivered as he was arrested in 2006 in Malibu, California. In 2010, audiotapes of threats he made to his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva — laced with racial epithets — surfaced. The next year he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge after a dispute with Grigorieva, the mother of his youngest child.

In 2004, he came under fire for what the Anti-Defamation League and others saw as anti-Semitism in “The Passion of the Christ,” a blockbuster he directed, co-produced and co-wrote. He reacted to a Frank Rich column about it in the New York Times by telling the New Yorker, “I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog.”

‘Harmful Words’

In 1992 he offended the gay community with remarks in a Spanish newspaper interview and later told Playboy that he would apologize “when hell freezes over.”

He did apologize after his Malibu arrest for what he said were his “vitriolic and harmful words,” and after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor drunk-driving charge was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Alan Nierob, a Rogers & Cowan publicist who represents Gibson, said his client should be allowed back in the fold. “People should know that he is now healthy once again, both physically and mentally after suffering a breakdown,” Nierob said. “He is an artistic genius, and the industry should benefit once again from his enormous talent.”

‘Harsh Language’

Weiner, describing herself as an observant Jew, said in Deadline Hollywood that Gibson today “is clearly a different man, one who has worked on his sobriety since that awful night in Malibu.” And the movie industry, she said, is hypocritical, willing to “work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson.”

She cited Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist who has been in the “Hangover” films. Gibson was dropped from a cameo in “The Hangover Part II” in 2010 after “a lot of people” working on the film protested, Todd Phillips told the Hollywood Reporter.

“Gibson has been shunned not for doing anything criminal; his greatest offenses amount to use of harsh language,” Weiner wrote in her more than 3,400-word piece. She said she chose to publish it on the 10th anniversary of “The Passion of the Christ,” which she described as “about an innocent man’s willingness to forgive the greatest injustice.”

The independent release grossed $612 million at the global box office, and Gibson personally made $210 million in 2004, according to Forbes. His fortune was estimated at $850 million by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and People magazine reported that his 2011 divorce halved that.

Befriending Rabbis

In recent years, Weiner said, Gibson has befriended rabbis, attended Passover Seders and donated to Jewish causes. He invited to coffee the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who took him into custody in Malibu. He was at Weiner’s son’s bar mitzvah, where she said he charmed her family.

“My friendship with Gibson made me reconsider other celebrities whose public images became tarnished by the media’s rush to judge,” Weiner wrote. “Whether it’s Gibson, Tom Cruise or Alec Baldwin, the descent from media darling to pariah can happen quickly after they do something dumb.”

Hollywood is littered with stars who fell from grace — Charlie Sheen after a rant against the producer of “Two and a Half Men,” Robert Downey Jr. after arrests for illegal drug use, Cruise after jumping on Oprah’s couch and admonishing Brooks Shields for treating her postpartum depression with pharmaceuticals — and who bounced back.

Two Oscars

Downey, Gibson’s co-star in “Air America” in 1990, has been among his staunch defenders. He asked that Gibson be on stage to present him with a life-achievement award from American Cinematheque in 2011, and said in his acceptance speech that his friend deserved from Hollywood the same forgiveness it had afforded him. Gibson had helped revive Downey’s career when he was considered uninsurable by paying his insurance bond for 2003’s “The Singing Detective.”

Gibson rose to international fame with the “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon” films and won Oscars in 1995 for best picture and best director for “Braveheart,” in which he also starred. He garnered acclaim for “Apocalypto,” about the end of Mayan civilization, which he financed through his Icon Productions LLC; Walt Disney Co. distributed it.

Released five months after the Malibu arrest, it did well at the box office. “Say what you will about him — about his problem with booze or his problem with Jews — he is a serious filmmaker,” wrote New York Times critic A.O. Scott.

Bypassing Theaters

One of Gibson’s big hits as an actor before Malibu was “Signs,” a 2002 thriller by M. Night Shyamalan that grossed $228 million. One of his biggest flops ever was “The Beaver” in 2011 with Jodie Foster, which made less than $1 million in U.S. theaters, according to the Internet Movie Database.

He bypassed theaters with “Get the Gringo” in 2012, releasing it instead on pay-television. Last year he was a co- star with Sheen in “Machete Kills,” which wasn’t a critical or commercial success.

In Hollywood, “there are some who may forgive and some who never will,” said Michael Sitrick, chairman and chief executive of Sitrick Brincko Group LLC, a Los Angeles-based public relations and crisis-management firm that has represented rapper Chris Brown, baseball player Alex Rodriguez and socialite Paris Hilton. “It’s not about spin. It has to be genuine.”
© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


‘Elysium’: That Time Liberal Hollywood Made a Racist Movie.

Matt Damon stars in 'Elysium.'
Matt Damon stars in ‘Elysium.’ (Facebook)

Unintentional humor is always the best.

Beyond the fact that it’s full of several glaring self-contradictions, liberal Hollywood’s latest ham-fisted attempt at propaganda, Elysium, could be the most racist film since the infamous Birth of a Nation.

The movie is meant to be a sympathetic allegory for amnesty for illegals and Obamacare. The rich (mostly white) people live on an outer space Valhalla, while the poor (mainly minorities) are forced to remain on Planet Earth.

Apparently the filmmakers don’t believe the black and Latino people left behind on Earth would be capable of actually building a civilized society if all the rich and (mostly) white people left. What about all those historically significant civilizations we learned about on our politically correct college campuses?

Our elitist college professors—who are mostly white and well-off, by the way—taught us these civilizations were reportedly heaven on earth until the white man showed up to pollute them with his Christo-fascist imperialism. If that interpretation of history is correct, then wouldn’t these people actually be better off if all those rich and (mostly) white people left the planet?

Matt Damon is the only main character in the movie that is white and still left on Earth. Meanwhile, all the earthly minority characters surrounding Damon—save one—are portrayed as slothful and/or violent criminals. There are even scenes involving minority characters mocking the white Damon as he shuffles off to his low-level factory job, and they attempt to cajole Damon into quitting his job and joining them in their criminal activity instead.

Stereotype much?

According to Elysium, minorities are not only too savage to build a civilized society without all the rich and (mostly) white folks there to show the way, but they can’t organize resistance to the movie’s misguided definition of tyranny on their own, either. Rather, it’s the white Damon that has to act selflessly and sacrificially to spur them into action. Without Damon, the minorities are mired in widespread immorality, drug use, corruption and gang activity.

The movie never tells us why its minorities on Earth can’t succeed without rich and (mostly) white people around. The movie never tells us why its minorities seemingly have the ingenuity to steal from one another as well as the rich and (mostly) white people on Elysium but aren’t willing to use their ingenuity to make Earth a better place for those who remain.

Meanwhile, the rich and (mostly) white people on Elysium have built a civilization that benefits everyone there. How come they’re able to rise above their base nature and the minorities on Earth are not? Are minorities not capable of doing the same, or can they only do it when white folks are there to show them how it’s done?

At best, such a notion is offensively patronizing. At worst, it’s a racist caricature.

So it turns out that while attempting to make the argument for a more progressive society, Elysiumactually makes a movie that puts forth several offensive mythologies white supremacists would agree with.

This is what happens when those who claim they’re open-minded and tolerant surround themselves with only the like-minded. Nobody bothers to stand up and ask a critical-thinking question about what they’re really trying to say here.

This is what happens when your main star claims to be a liberal champion of public schools. Then, afterit’s revealed he’s sending his children to an exclusive private school, he says that’s because the kind of education he wants his children to have “no longer exists” in the crummy schools he thinks the rest of our children should be subjected to.

Then again, Damon’s latest movie says I should expect such hypocritical elitism from rich white folks like Damon. He seemed like a natural in his role. Now we know why.



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