LOS ANGELES – Mel Gibson said Tuesday he is not a bigot or an anti-Semite and he apologized to “everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words” he used when he was arrested for drunken driving.
“Hatred of any kind goes against my faith,” he said in a statement released through publicist Alan Nierob.
“I’m not just asking for forgiveness,” Gibson said. “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.”
It was the second apology the 50-year-old Oscar winner has issued through Nierob since his Friday arrest.
Gibson said he’s “in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display” and hopes members of the Jewish community, “whom I have personally offended,” will help him in his recovery efforts.
“There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark,” Gibson said.
“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.”
Gibson acknowledged “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.”
He said he must take responsibility for making anti-Semitic remarks because as a public person, “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.”
Gibson noted that his apology and efforts to repair relations with the Jewish community “is not about a film.”
ABC announced late Monday that it had scrapped plans for Gibson to produce a miniseries on the Holocaust.
“This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have,” Gibson said.
To some people, however, it is about movies.
“I don’t think I want to see any more Mel Gibson movies,” Barbara Walters said Monday on the ABC talk show “The View.” ABC is owned by Disney, which was in the early stages of planning the marketing for Gibson’s next film “Apocalypto.”
This is not the first time Gibson has faced accusations of anti-Semitism. Gibson produced, directed and financed the 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” which some Jewish leaders said cast Jews as the killers of Jesus. Days before “Passion” was released, Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, was quoted as saying the Holocaust was mostly “fiction.”
Gibson, won a best-director Oscar for 1995’s “Braveheart,” and starred in the “Lethal Weapon” and “Mad Max” films, among others.
In recent years, he has turned his attention to producing films and TV shows through his Icon Productions. The hundreds of millions of dollars he made from “The Passion” has given the star the ability to finance his own films, giving him a measure of independence from the major studios. His last major starring role was in the 2002 film “Signs.” He played a supporting part in the 2003 film, “The Singing Detective,” which he also produced.