Actor Joshua Malina Asks Why Hollywood Hasn’t Canceled Mel Gibson Yet
There’s a very comprehensive catalog of deeply problematic and downright hateful things Mel Gibson has said in the past, and I’m pretty sure it’s so bad that if you were to search the word “sugar tits,” Google would come back like, “Errr…you know what, I’m going to make an executive decision and just show you some boobs covered in sugar. It’s better for your mental health and probably safer for work too.” And yet! With all the notable quotables floating around out there from Mel Gibson’s past, he continues to work. Actor Joshua Malina, who was in The West Wing, Scandal, The Big Bang Theory, and A View From The Top, decided he’s had enough and wrote an op-ed for The Atlantic asking why Mel Gibson hasn’t seemed to face any consequences of his anti-Semitic actions.
Joshua Malina is Jewish, so naturally, Joshua probably feels the spirits of his ancestors wince every time Mel Gibson’s name is brought up in a positive way. Like how Mel Gibson is currently working on a new film called Hot Seat, was just announced as the director of Lethal Weapon 5, has been cast as a lead in a John Wick origin series for Starz, and will make a sequel to The Passion of The Christ with everyone’s favorite deeply misinformed Catholic, Jim Caviezel. Mel’s agent stays busy, and that’s a problem for Joshua, who truly doesn’t hold back with his feelings on the matter. Joshua specifically thinks that throwing the director chair over to Mel’s ass to sit in on Lethal Weapon 5 is pretty much officially sanctioning all the hateful stuff he’s said in the past. via The Atlantic:
Gibson is a well-known Jew-hater (anti-Semite is too mild). His prejudices are well documented. So my question is, what does a guy have to do these days to get put on Hollywood’s no-fly list? I’m a character actor. I tend to take the jobs that come my way. But – and this hurts to write – you couldn’t pay me enough to work with Mel Gibson.
Joshua continues to say that he loves a few of the Lethal Weapon movies and that he’s a big fan of Danny Glover. But essentially, the nostalgic feeling he gets when he hears Danny Glover talk about being too old for this shit opposite of Mel Gibson again isn’t something Joshua is willing to give Mel a pass on.
Many horrible people produce wonderful art. Put me down as an ardent fan of Roald Dahl, Pablo Picasso, and Edith Wharton; can’t get enough of what they’re selling. But these three had the good taste to die. That makes it a lot easier to enjoy their output. Gibson lives. And Tinseltown need not employ him further.
Furthermore, Joshua believes that anti-Semitism is sort of an acceptable form of prejudice in Hollywood and that even the most left-leaning types might be quick to brush off the odd joke or comment. He says that that kind of casual attitude to Mel’s hate speech allows for others who think the same to thrive.
This might feel like a smaller matter if it didn’t come at a moment when members of my tribe feel the walls closing in again. Jews were the victims in more than 50 percent of religious-based hate crimes last year. In recent years, we’ve witnessed the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, the murder at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California, Jewish students harassed on college campuses, European anti-Semitism on the rise – these are the headlines that make us feel unsafe. Is this really the time to glorify a man like Mel Gibson?
For those who needed a bit more research on the topic, Joshua had the time (did you think he was going to publicly refer to Mel Gibson as a “Jew hater” in The Atlantic and not come through with complete receipts?). He mentions the hateful things that Mel said to his then-girlfriend and mother to one of his children, Oksana Grigorieva, and brings up that anti-Jewish rant a drunk Mel went on while in police custody in 2006. And then, of course, there are Winona Ryder’s allegations that Mel brought a ton of anti-Semitic and homophobic talk her way at a party years ago. Joshua also calls out Warner Bros. (the studio behind Lethal Weapon) and their “inclusion policy” on their website, saying that a commitment to diversity doesn’t mean shit if certain groups of people don’t feel safe around others.
And it’s not just Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic past that bothers Joshua now. He also points out that in equal measure, the man has a history of misogyny and anti-Black racism that seems to be often overlooked. Also, he totally gets that this op-ed will probably result not in Mel losing work, but Joshua Malina getting fewer phone calls.
I write this knowing that it’s more likely to lead to a boycott by Warner Bros. of Joshua Malina than of Mel Gibson. But if that’s the result, so be it. I’ve had a nice career, baruch Hashem. It would be great if higher-profile executives, producers, and actors would also take a stand. Then I could believe in this cancel culture I keep reading so much about.
I mean, here’s hoping that Joshua Malina doesn’t start losing future acting gigs because he decided to put on a cape and play Captain Obvious on a national stage. And so far, there’s been no word of response from Mel Gibson regarding Joshua’s op-ed. Hmmm…interesting. Usually, Mel has plenty to say when it comes to speaking his thoughts about Jewish people. My guess is there’s been no official rebuttal yet because Mel’s people are still working on getting a usable statement from Mel. You know, the kind that doesn’t end with Mel eventually getting a strongly-worded letter from the Anti-Defamation League.