The LA Times has a good piece on celebrity friends coming to Mel Gibson’s defense, including Jodie Foster and several producers who have worked with Gibson. Other outlets reported support for Patrick Swayze, and I especially liked this remark from Dean Devlin:
I consider Mel one of my best friends in Hollywood. The day this happened, my wife had gotten this long letter from Mel full of congratulations [for the birth of the Devlins’ first child] and talking about the joys of being a parent. She’s Jewish. I’m Jewish. 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.”
And the LA Times notes a good sign for his career:
“There have always been stars, like Sean Penn or Russell Crowe and before that Kirk Douglas or Frank Sinatra, whose tough-guy personas on screen allowed them to survive bad behavior off screen,” says one longtime publicist. “It’s not like he’s ever been Mr. Nice Guy.”
Apart from one producer, the most prominent named “I’ll never work with Gibson”-declaration came from comedian Rob Schneider. And I’m not sure it’s 100 percent serious. Not simply because Schneider is a comedian, but because the specific language contained in the ad sounds like there’s a subtext of sarcasm running through it. Also, there’s the pomposity of the very concept of *Schneider* taking out a Variety ad to say he’s never work with *Gibson.* I mean, without at the time knowing any of the specifics, my immediate reaction when I heard that Schneider was saying he’d never work with Gibson, was “durn it … that ruins my hopes for seeing THE PASSION OF DEUCE BIGALOW.” Check out the language of Schneider’s at the right.
Is it not at least as plausible that Schneider is making fun of the repetitively-named Bernie Brillstein? And can any reference¹ to THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST 2 or hypotheticals involving a time machine or speaking ancient Mayan be taken completely seriously?
UPDATE: Looks like my bud Bilge Ebiri had the same wtf-is-this-a-joke? reaction to the Rob Schneider ad.
But as always, SOUTH PARK gets the best line, though Comedy Central insists it was a coincidence. At the Daily Texan when I was in college, a fellow conservative columnist named Corey Birenbaum proudly took the “of course we run the world”-attitude.
¹ Ali G once mused aloud to Pat Buchanan’s endorsement of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST that they’d just bring that character back to life for a sequel.