Patrick Swayze has joined Jodie Foster and a chorus of other show-business voices to lend his support to Mel Gibson after the actor’s anti-Semitic rant made to a police officer during Gibson’s July 28 arrest for DUI in Malibu.
On Aug. 7 at a post-show party for his musical, “Guys and Dolls,” in London’s West End, Swayze told PEOPLE of Gibson, “We are good friends. Leave him alone. He knows he screwed up, he doesn’t have an anti-Semitic bone in his body and he’s not prejudiced, he’s not biased in any way.”
Swayze continued, “Sometimes when you have a couple too many you’re stupid. Especially when he’s been on the wagon for so long and the one moment he tries to experiment the world finds out about it. It’s just sad.”
Admitting he has a problem with alcohol, Gibson, 50, has twice apologized for his remarks, which included his saying: “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” The star has since been charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated and has hired criminal defense lawyer Blair Berk, who previously has represented Paul Reubens, Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan and Queen Latifah, according to ABC News.
Foster, who costarred with Gibson in 1994’s Maverick, told the Los Angeles Times that she does not believe that drunkenness excuses hurtful remarks, but in Gibson’s case, “Is he an anti-Semite? Absolutely not. But it’s no secret that he has always fought a terrible battle with alcoholism.”
That was a sentiment echoed by movie producer Dean Devlin, a friend who had spent the afternoon before the arrest with Gibson. “I have been with Mel when he has fallen off, and he becomes a completely different person,” Devlin also told the Times. “It is pretty horrifying.”
Devlin, who, along with his wife, is Jewish, also said, “If Mel is an anti-Semite, then he spends a lot of time with us, which makes no sense. But he is an alcoholic, and while that makes no excuse for what he said, because there is no excuse, I believe it was the disease speaking, not the man.”