Monday, July 12, 2010

Mad Mel

In February I wrote a post about the apologist culture we live in, where celebrities like Tiger Woods attempt to repair the damage they've inflicted to their reputations -- and their revenue-generating personal brands -- with rote statements that lack sincerity and reflect no remorse.

Now the latest "leaked" tapes showcasing Mel Gibson's epic racism and misogyny -- which may result in criminal charges stemming from physical assault and death threats against Oksana Grigorieva, his former girlfriend and mother of his eighth child -- take this familiar game to a whole new level. Previously, when Gibson was arrested on a DUI charge and hurled anti-Semitic epithets at his arresting officer, the excuse was made that he was drunk and not in control of his actions. That may be true, but alcohol loosens inhibititions, it doesn't fabricate racism or sexism where none exists.

Anyone who has heard the latest tapes, delivered in that very familiar voice, comes away with a sense of his bullying, self-righteous anger. I know very little about Grigorieva, and wouldn't doubt at all that she may be a manipulative bimbo taking advantage of a tremendously wealthy, fading sex symbol well past his prime. But even Hollywood's most conniving golddigger doesn't deserve to be threatened with being buried in a rose garden, and a supposed family man who has already reared seven children with his, I would imagine, long-suffering wife of 30 years cannot be forgiven for striking the mother of his latest baby while the child is in her arms. I mean, he broke the woman's teeth -- that's no love tap.

The silence from the Gibson family itself is a deafening statement of its own. He has six sons and one daughter, most of whom are young adults, and the fact that none of them has stepped up to defend him -- or to even agree with his accuser -- speaks volumes. It makes you wonder what kind of pressure cooker they've been living in all these years, and what price they've paid for their silence.

My prediction is that this episode isn't over by any means. Gibson is obviously too much of a hot-headed, pompous jerk, so accustomed to the special treatment reserved for the ultra elite, to let his ego back down. Who else wouldn't concern himself, in this techological age, with the likelihood that his rants would be recorded and released on television and the Internet? No, this is headed for a blow-out of O.J. Simpson/Phil Spector proportions. And isn't the public hungry for a new crime trial of the new century?

The news that the William Morris Agency has dropped Gibson as a client is laughable; he needs no representation. One of the richest men in Hollywood due to his decades as an A-list performer, along with an extensive Southern California real estate investment strategy, plus the hundreds of millions of dollars his The Passion of the Christ earned alone, he can pretty much initiate any pet project he pleases. The question is whether he'll ever be able to fill a theater again.

7/16/10 UPDATE:
Robyn Gibson has issued a statement saying that in their 28 years of marriage, her husband never subjected her or their seven children to physical violence. The terseness and careful wording of this announcement, along with its very late-in-the-game appearance, has lawyer-prompted damage control written all over it; it seems to leave the door open for eventual revelations of emotional abuse. And those seven kids, most of whom are young adults? Still not a peep of support or condemnation.

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