Mel Gibson will be presenting an award at the upcoming Golden Globes on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. The Golden Globes revealed on Twitter the various celebrities that would be presenting awards to the nominees. Olivia Wilde and Gibson were among the first named. The news was greeted with considerable emotion from social media. The Twitter-sphere responded with a range of reactions including one from the host, Ricky Gervais.
Gervais tweeted, “Thank Jesus,” after hearing the announcement. The jab was likely a double riff on the Gibson-directed feature film, The Passion of the Christ (2004), and presumably because the jokes for the evening would practically write themselves. Gervais is known for his merciless skewering of the actor’s public pitfalls, something it seems most of the viewing audience is eagerly anticipating. A number of Twitter users posted witticisms and a litany of cutting remarks at Gibson’s expense.
The actor has been keeping a low profile, as of late, since a string of violent and offensive off-screen incidents have significantly clouded his public image.
Past Indiscretions on Display
In 2006, Gibson was arrested for a DUI when he reportedly made drunken anti-Semitic remarks. Newsweek stated that upon discovering the arresting officer was Jewish, he responded, “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Following that incident, a series of recorded phone calls to his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, were leaked to the press and onto the Internet in 2010. He reportedly unleashed a stream of drunken profanities, directed toward her, that were laden with violent misogynistic threats. One such utterance included a desire to “put her in the rose garden.” Then, things took a racist turn when Gibson stated he hoped she would leave the house and “get raped by a pack of ni**ers.”
According to Adam Howard of MSNBC, the scandal from his vitriol-laced rants hit the media. Gibson has since entered rehab for alcohol abuse, pled guilty to a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge, and reached a settlement with Grigorieva in 2011. He offered an official apology to the Jewish community as well.
Despite the perfunctory legal work and compensation, the actor still managed to backslide at the same time. While doing promotional work for the 2010 movie, Edge of Darkness, which also happened to be his last leading role, Howard reported that Gibson entered into some rather snarky encounters with journalists when they asked about whether his off-screen antics would affect his career. He answered by calling WGN-TV reporter Dean Richards an “a**hole” while on-air. He continued to be combative with Jewish entertainment reporter Sam Rubin, asking whether he “had a dog in this fight.”
Actress Ashley Judd also mentioned in an article with GQ that this behavior is not at all unusual. Judd claimed that 15 years ago, at a Hollywood party, an inebriated Gibson made a tasteless homophobic joke, as well as mentioning “oven-dodgers” when he discovered she was Jewish.
It is unclear whether Hollywood has completely forgiven Gibson’s behavior, despite the announcement that he is going to present an award at the Golden Globes. Regardless, he has not worked with a Hollywood studio in years. Some speculate this could be an attempt to tie into the 2015 summer hit, Mad Max: Fury Road, as it has been nominated for Best Drama Film and Best Director at the Globes. Gibson was the star of the original Mad Max movies, which were cult hits in the early ’80s. He showed up at the Los Angeles premiere of Fury Road in May.
Is it time for Gibson to be invited back into Hollywood and the public’s good graces? Certain public figures seem to be all for it. Recently pardoned actor Robert Downey Jr. believes it is time to let the actor-director move forward. Downey knows all about redemption in the public eye, as he had been assisted by Gibson in the past. When studios were reluctant to take a chance on him due to his past behavior and drug use, the Payback star put up an insurance bond to secure Downey’s ability to perform in The Singing Detective in 2003. Afterward, Downey won an award for Best Actor from the Catalonian International Film Festival for his performance. It could be considered one of the stepping-stones that led to the resurgence of his career and current mainstream success in the popular Disney/Marvel franchise as Iron Man.
Deadline’s Jewish journalist, Allison Hope Weiner, thinks it is time for Gibson’s “quiet blacklisting” from various studios to end. Her preconception of the actor has changed completely, over a series of interviews, as she befriended the emotionally ravaged Gibson in the wake of his scandals of 2006. She remarked on the fact that his film, Braveheart, won five Oscars and his collective box office is $3.6 billion. Yet, he has not been associated with a studio since 2004’s Passion of the Christ. She thinks it is hypocritical of Hollywood to allow certain offenses slide from other celebrities, and in turn, completely disavow Gibson. Weiner contended he has quietly given millions of dollars to charitable Jewish causes, befriended several Jewish leaders, and has taken the time to learn about the culture he so vehemently spoke of time and time again. She believes he still has a lot of creativity to offer the world.
The announcement that Mel Gibson will be presenting an award onstage Sunday, January 9 at the Golden Globe Awards has not gone unnoticed by the public. The ever-present reminders of his violent rants, drunken diatribes, and vicious screams of fury are available for everyone to hear on YouTube. It seems the public has their mindset, either one way or another, on where they stand with the Australian-born actor. Only time will tell if Gibson’s presence at the Golden Globes will herald a new public acceptance of the actor/director. If he is given another opportunity, 60-year-old Gibson can show everyone that he is not in the same place he was a decade ago.
The Golden Globe Awards air Sunday, January 10 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
By Juanita Lewis
Edited by Jeanette Smith
San Jose Mercury News: Mel Gibson presenting at Golden Globes ignites controversy
Deadline News: A Journalist’s Plea On 10th Anniversary Of ‘The Passion Of The Christ’: Hollywood, Take Mel Gibson Off Your Blacklist
People News: Winona Ryder: Mel Gibson Was Anti-Semitic, Homophobic 15 Years Ago
IMDb: Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson
Image Courtesy of Photographer Kim Davies’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License