In the second and final part of his interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Mel Gibson talked about his statement, made after his July 28 drunken driving arrest, that “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Without being specific, Gibson, 50, said on Friday’s Good Morning America that he had begun talking to Jewish people he knows to make amends for his outburst.
Gibson said his remarks to his arresting officer in Malibu may have been sparked by the war between Israel and Lebanon, which had begun 17 days earlier. “Now, maybe it was just that very day that Lebanon and Israel were at it, you know,” he said.
Asked if the Jews were responsible for that conflict, Gibson said, “Well, strictly speaking, that’s, that’s not true because it takes two to tango. What are they responsible for? I think that they’re not blameless in the conflict. There’s been aggression, and retaliation and aggression. It’s just part of being in conflict, and being at war. So they’re not blameless.”
After circling the topic with Sawyer for some time, Gibson finally said he wanted to face the camera and make a statement. “Let me be real clear here, in sobriety, sitting here, in front of you, national television,” he said, “that I don’t believe that Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. I mean that’s an outrageous, drunken statement.”
Gibson also said he was angry about past accusations that his 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ, featured anti-Semitic imagery. “The other place it may have come from is, you know, as you know, a couple of years ago I released the film Passion. Even before anyone saw a frame of the film, for an entire year, I was subjected to a pretty brutal sort of public beating,” he said.
“During the course of that, I think I probably had my rights violated in many different ways as an American. You know. As an artist. As a Christian. Just as a human being, you know.”
At the time, some critics worried that the film could incite violence against Jews, although Gibson said that didn’t happen. “The film came out. It was released, and you could have heard a pin drop, you know. Even the crickets weren’t chirping,” he said. “But the other thing I never heard was one single word of apology.”
Sawyer also asked Gibson about his father’s widely quoted comments denying the Holocaust. Hutton Gibson, now 88, has said that the killing of six million Jews by the Nazis in Europe was “mostly fiction” and that reports about the genocide were “overly hyped.”
“We’re talking about me right now,” Gibson said, fidgeting in his chair. “And me taking responsibility for my words and actions. And I’m certainly not going to use him, to sort of put anything off of me. It isn’t the explanation for what happened that night. It isn’t. It has nothing to do with it. That’s in my own heart.”
He added, “I was taught that there are good and bad people of any race and creed, you know.”