Mel Gibson Set Up/Provoked? by John Cones
So much information about the Mel Gibson scandal came out so fast that at this point, I have more questions or sets of questions than answers.
First Set of Questions-What are the names of the young ladies who appeared in the photo that was reported over the news where they were shown with their arms around Mel Gibson, presumably at the Moon Shadows restaurant and bar on the night of his DUI arrest? Did they just happen to be in the bar that night and ask for the opportunity to be in a photo with the well-known star, or did someone else suggest or encourage them to have the photo taken with Mel Gibson? Who took the photo and how did it get on the news so quickly?
Second Set of Questions-Was someone following Mel Gibson that night and other nights since his film "The Passion of the Christ" came out? And is that the reason he was speeding away from Moon Shadows after he left the Malibu restaurant/bar? After all, there are some segments of that small, tight-knit Hollywood Jewish community that were convinced after that movie came out that Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic, while others were willing to withhold their judgment on the issue? That means that there may have been some of the more pro-active members of the Hollywood Jewish community who had a motive to prove beyond a doubt that Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic since it is clear that just making a movie containing a scene considered by some to be anti-Semitic is not all that persuasive for others. After all, a majority of those politically liberal, not very religions, Jewish males of European heritage who have the power in Hollywood to determine which movies are made and the content of those movies have often and consistently portrayed certain populations in our diverse society in a negative manner. Does that make them prejudice in the same way that Mel Gibson's film allegedly makes him prejudice? Some of these same folks, of course, believe that since Mel Gibson's father is apparently anti-Semitic, that the son is very likely to have similar attitudes. That's the one count against Mel Gibson, not a certainty to more reasonable minds, but a possible indication. Then when "The Passion" came out with its decidedly negative portrayal of a small group of Jews, being specifically portrayed as partly responsible for the death of Christ (clearly a hot button issue for many Jews), some of those more pro-active members of the Hollywood Jewish community, not withstanding the inconsistency of not applying the same standard to their fellows in Hollywood, may have had all the evidence they needed. In their view, Mel Gibson was clearly anti-Semitic. But, if others in the Hollywood Jewish community needed more convincing (after all, Mel Gibson had made a lot of money for them over the years with many of his movies, and if his image could be repaired and/or his "attitude" changed he could continue to make money for them). Under such circumstances, it is reasonable to speculate that some of those more pro-active and already convinced members of the Hollywood Jewish community might have set out to find or furnish more convincing evidence of Mel Gibson's guilt. So, initially, the questions Mel Gibson's attorney may want to pursue is: "Was Mel Gibson being followed that night? If so, by whom? And, had he been followed in the weeks prior to this latest incident? In other words, was Mel Gibson aware that he was being followed and was that part of the reason he made the mistake in judgment that caused him to be pulled over for speeding?"
Third Set of Questions-What is the name of the Jewish deputy Sheriff (or whatever his title was) who apparently (according to news reports) was on the scene the night Mel Gibson was stopped for speeding and arrested for DUI? How many Jewish deputy Sheriffs are there in LA County? (Probably not too many). What are the odds that one of the few Jewish deputy Sheriffs in LA County would be on duty this particular night and specifically assigned to traffic duty on PCH? Was this particular deputy Sheriff actually on duty? Or was he off-duty? Was he the individual that was following Mel Gibson (if that turns out to be the case)? Did this Jewish deputy Sheriff have any direct contact with Mel Gibson during the confrontation with Gibson after he was stopped? Did the Jewish deputy Sheriff say anything to Mel Gibson, that may have provoked someone like Mel Gibson, who had been drinking to blurt out something as stupid as the words that apparently came out of Mel Gibson's mouth? Did the Jewish deputy Sheriff say anything to Mel Gibson about Mel Gibson's father? Did he say anything else to Mel Gibson prior to Mel Gibson's so-called tirade? Did this Jewish deputy Sheriff or the other deputies involved already know that Mel Gibson had been drinking that night before he was stopped? In other words, had they already been tipped off that Mel Gibson was in Moon Shadows drinking and about to get into his car and head home on PCH? If so, who tipped them off? Or was the stop of Mel Gibson merely part of a routine drunk driving stop in which the deputies had no idea who was driving? Assuming there was a Jewish deputy Sheriff on hand during the stop and arrest (again, as news reports indicate), which deputy Sheriff made the written report about the incident containing the anti-Semitic slur? Is it the policy of the Sheriff Department that arresting officers write down statements that otherwise have nothing to do with speeding and/or driving while drunk? Was there some law enforcement reason for writing down such utterances? Does such an utterance actually rise to the level of a hate crime? Or was there a reasonable question in the mind of the deputy filling out his report so that he felt it was reasonable to include the offending utterance in the report? Or was there another reason to include such apparently extraneous language in the report? In other words, was someone there on the scene urging that such words be included in the report, because their interest was in getting that information out about Mel Gibson as opposed to the actual law breaking (speeding and drunk driving)?
Fourth Set of Questions-Then, of course, we come to the questions about the person who apparently broke the story in the media, Harvey Levin - who tipped off TMZ.com's Harvey Levin about the Mel Gibson utterance? Did it not appear to anyone else that Harvey Levin was exceedingly vicious in his reporting on the Mel Gibson incident? Didn't he seem personally involved and a bit over the top in that reporting? Didn't he seem to be much more interested in the anti-Semitic part of the allegations than the speeding and drunk driving? Is it not true that Harvey Levin was formerly a television legal correspondent and that when blogging came into fashion, he went out on his own for the purpose of working as an independent investigative reporter focusing on law related matters (thus creating and promoting his TMZ.com blog site)? Doesn't this give Harvey Levin a motive to break a big story about a well-known celebrity being an anti-Semite and thereby promoting his relatively new career as an independent investigative journalist and at the same time, become a hero to those in the Jewish community who were already convinced that Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic? Is it not possible that Harvey Levin had a hand in making this all happen? That he was one of the more pro-active members of the Hollywood Jewish community that was already convinced that Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic and was actively looking for additional proof in order to convince everyone else? Maybe Harvey Levin had arranged for Mel Gibson to be followed that night and other nights, so that he would have a shot at breaking such a story - after all, this is Hollywood, where paparazzi regularly follow celebrities to get photos of their late night activities? Or, is it possible that a paparazzi, personally known to Harvey Levin was the person at Moon Shadows that night who took the photo of Mel Gibson and the ladies, then tipped off Harvey Levin that Mel Gibson was leaving Moon Shadows after having had a few drinks? And, then Harvey Levin contacted either the Sheriff's Department, a friend in the Sheriff's Department or even the Jewish deputy Sheriff who was supposedly on the scene that night? How did this all happen? And, who was involved? We clearly do not have all of the story and we cannot rely on Harvey Levin to give us all of the story. He seems to be interested in only one part of the story - the part that could destroy Mel Gibson's career (i.e., take away his livelihood).
Fifth Set of Questions-Has enough evidence actually been developed to prove that Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic? We've already noted the first and second elements of the case against Mel Gibson (1) apparently his father is anti-Semitic, so in the eyes of some that at least makes Mel Gibson suspect; and (2) he made a movie with one scene not only depicting Jews in a negative manner but as "Christ-killers", one of the most offensive things non-Jews can do (at least in the view of some Jews). On the other hand, it could be argued that Mel Gibson, apparently a sincere Catholic and devout believer, was merely presenting as accurate a portrait of the death of Christ as he could, based on the only available evidence of the incident - The Bible. Once again, many Jewish filmmakers have from time to time portrayed non-Jewish people in a negative manner in motion pictures (see my book "Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content"). Would it be reasonable for anyone to assume that such Jewish filmmakers were deeply prejudiced just because of such negative portrayals of non-Jews in a powerful communications medium like film? Such a principle at least needs to be applied evenly across the board, if that is the case. And, the truth is that many more negative portrayals of non-Jews appear in Hollywood films as compared to negative portrayals of Jews, thus, such an accounting could not reflect favorably on Jewish filmmakers (i.e., it would have to be admitted that they are deeply prejudiced). The apparent third element in the case against Mel Gibson is his reported blurting out that "Jews are responsible for all wars" or something to that effect on the night of his arrest. Other than being false and absurd on its face, we have to wonder why Mel Gibson would blurt something like that out in the context of his DUI arrest, even if he believed it? That's where the previously raised question as to whether Mel Gibson was provoked comes in. It would make more sense if Mel Gibson was somewhat drunk (apparently an undisputed fact) and simply responding in kind to someone who provoked him with a similarly offensive and stupid statement, something like two junior high school kids arguing with each other and he was responding with what he thought was a witty comeback at the time, without realizing that taken out of context, some people would believe he actually believed what he said. Under these circumstances (1) the man was drunk, (2) he's been under a lot of pressure lately, (3) all of the major Hollywood studios had refused to help him finance and produce his movie ("The Passion"), (4) once he found a small distributor with little clout for collecting from exhibitors to distribute his move, he had to sue the largest exhibitor (Regal) who allegedly refused to remit some $40 million dollars of the film's earnings that were due to be paid; (5) thus he had some anger, but in addition to drinking and driving that night, he apparently made the intellectual error of directing that anger toward a broader group than the Hollywood insiders who he felt he had good reason to be angry with, not because of their status as Jews, but because of their shabby treatment of him. So, the people who are assuming that a person who's drunk always tells the truth and we therefore know the real Mel Gibson are on rather shaky ground. We really don't know whether Mel Gibson really meant what he allegedly said that night or whether he was provoked, whether he was just making a stupid comeback or whether he was just being drunk and stupid. This element combined with the other two elements of the case against Mel Gibson does not sound like a very convincing case for anti-Semitism. Yet, some in the Hollywood Jewish community would destroy his career over this incident. Fair? Appropriate?
Sixth Set of Questions-Is the remedy being urged by some in the Hollywood Jewish community (i.e., let's not every work with this "jerk" again) the appropriate remedy? As we have seen, the evidence that Mel Gibson is actually an anti-Semite is somewhat weak, yet for some it's all that's needed to blackball the actor/director. Of course, one of the reasons why some have jumped on the bandwagon to blackball Mel Gibson is that there is a nearly one hundred year history in Hollywood of blacklisting or blackballing outsiders and others whenever the Hollywood insider community feels it is necessary or in their interest. In other words, one of the reasons why such calls are being made is that it has been done in the past and it works. As confirmed in my book "Who Really Controls Hollywood" the Hollywood-based U.S. film business is controlled by a small group of politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males of European heritage and this Hollywood insiders group has often discriminated against Hollywood outsiders during the 100 year history of Hollywood (see the chapter on "The Hollywood Outsiders" in my upcoming book "Hollywood Wars - How Hollywood Insiders Gained and Maintain Illegitimate Control Over the Film Industry"). In fact, many other Hollywood outsiders have been called anti-Semitic because such an allegation makes it more difficult for the outsider to work in the Hollywood community (see discussions relating to the treatment of D.W.Griffith, Joseph Kennedy, William Randolph Hearst, Orson Welles, Howard Hughes and Kirk Kerkorian. Mel Gibson is just another Hollywood outsider being attacked for the same reasons - he did something that offended the Hollywood insider community. Never mind that there should not even be an "insider" community for an important and powerful communications industry such as film and the fact that there is detracts from the effectiveness of our nation's democracy (see "Hollywood's Disdain for Democracy") but if Mel Gibson was actually accused of a "hate crime" he would at least get a trial with a jury of his peers and an opportunity to defend himself. In this instance, the narrowly-defined Hollywood insider community is acting as the judge and jury (or lynch mob) and seeking to destroy the man's career (i.e., take away his livelihood) without any of our country's constitutional protections against injustice. That is a shameful act. Even if convicted of a hate crime the remedy would not be as devastating.
Wouldn't it be more appropriate to recognize that anti-Semitism, if in fact it exists in the mind of Mel Gibson, in most instances is not an incurable disease and that if the more moderate members of the Hollywood film community reached out to Mel Gibson, maybe whatever wrong thinking is there could be corrected with education and reason. And, then Mel Gibson could rejoin the Hollywood film community, we could have all learned a great lesson and Mel Gibson could continue to make films - that would be good for him, all of those in the Hollywood film community who benefit from that and all of the rest of us. Wouldn't that be better than trying to crucify him?
These are just some of the questions I have. I hope these get answered in the days ahead.
07 August 2006
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