Major Jewish Group Accuses Golden Globe Awards of ‘Rehabilitating a Bigot’ With Choice of Mel Gibson as Presenter ‘at Time of Surging Antisemitism’
by Shiryn Ghermezian
An international Jewish human rights organization blasted the organizers of Hollywood’s Golden Globe Awards for selecting disgraced movie star Mel Gibson as a presenter at the ceremony on Sunday night, due to his antisemitic history.
“We’re disappointed that the Golden Globe Awards committee, at a time of surging antisemitism, has chosen to rehabilitate a bigot,” Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “Would they have done the same for someone who has insulted other minorities?”
The Braveheart star gained notoriety for spewing antisemitic vitriol at a Los Angeles police officer in 2006, when he was arrested for drunk driving. “F***ing Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” he ranted.
“People should be judged by their words and deeds,” Cooper stressed.
A number of social media users also expressed outrage. One Twitter user called the decision “unbelievable,” while another said the show’s producers are “more than lowering the bar” by allowing Gibson to present. Yet another said sarcastically, “fine, side with the racist.”
Despite the backlash, Golden Globe Awards producers said they were “delighted to announce” the actor’s presence at the ceremony, according to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, members of which vote on the honors for excellence in film and television.
Shortly after his DUI arrest, Gibson issued an apology “specifically to everyone in the Jewish community” for his “vitriolic and harmful words.”
But Gibson’s record of antisemitism began as far back as the ’90s when actress Winona Ryder accused him of joking about the Holocaust during a party, according to The Jewish Chronicle. She said he was drunk at the time, and when her Jewish background was brought up in the conversation, the actor “said something about ‘oven-dodgers.'”
He also reportedly belittled the scale of Hitler’s genocide against the Jews during the Holocaust, calling it a “numbers game.” Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas said in 2012 that the actor dismissed the Holocaust as “mostly a lot of horse****,” and also revealed that Gibson continuously referred to Jews as “Hebes” and “oven-dodgers.”
Gibson additionally came under fire for his 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, which suggested that Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.