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Mel Gibson: 'I Am Not an Anti-Semite'

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Mel Gibson, who was arrested Friday for driving under the influence, has issued a new statement apologizing for making anti-Semitic comments to a police officer.

“There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark,” Gibson says in the statement. “I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.”

In a report posted on the Web site TMZ.com, Gibson is quoted as having said to the Malibu officer: “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” and asking the arresting officer, “Are you a Jew?”

Some Jewish leaders praised Gibson’s statement. “I welcome his words, and I hope and pray that they are sincere and heartfelt,” said Rabbi Mark S. Diamond of the 280-member Board of Rabbis of Southern California. But, Diamond added, Gibson needs to show “tangible actions” of repentance.

Meanwhile, as controversy rages over whether the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department tried to cover up Gibson’s remarks, the attorney in charge of the panel looking into the matter said a preliminary review found nothing wrong with the handling of Gibson’s arrest.

“In this case, the information reviewed to date indicates that LASD did ensure that the arrest of Mr. Gibson was handled in accord with its policies and practices,” said Michael Gennaco, head of the county Office of Independent Review.

Earlier in the day, the officer who detained Gibson said he didn’t want to harm Gibson’s career. “That stuff is booze talking,” said Deputy James Mee, who is Jewish. “If you are high-strung person, it’s going to amplify that and all the bad things are going to come out.”

On Monday, the actor’s rep announced that Gibson had sought treatment for alcoholism, which Gibson also references in his statement.

Gibson’s full statement is below:
There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.

I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.

The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God’s child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.

I’m not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.

I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realizing is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.

This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. It’s about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad.