Jewish Actor Asks Why Hollywood Won’t ‘Cancel’ Mel Gibson Over Antisemitic, Racist Past
American Jewish actor Josh Malina questioned on Thursday why major film studios and production companies continue working with actor Mel Gibson, despite his history of antisemitism, misogyny, and racism.
“Gibson is a well-known Jew-hater (antisemite is too mild),” Malina wrote in The Atlantic. “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.”
Malina, who starred in the hit television shows “Scandal” and “The West Wing,” penned the article upon learning that Gibson was in talks to star in and direct the Warner Bros. film “Lethal Weapon 5,” after taking on the lead role in the franchise’s first four films.
If Gibson does in fact helm the latest installment of the popular franchise, then “it may be time to stop publishing think pieces about the power of ‘cancel culture,'” Malina wrote. “Because if he can continue to find big bucks and approbation in Hollywood, cancel culture simply does not exist.”
Gibson has a long history of making antisemitic remarks. While being arrested for driving under the influence in 2006, he went on an infamous tirade, telling a police officer, “f**king Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Jewish actress Winona Ryder said last year that Gibson once called her an “oven dodger,” referring to the crematoria at Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and asked her friend who was gay, “Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?” Gibson denied the allegations.
“The Patriot” star also made racist and misogynistic remarks to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during a 2010 fight that was caught on video and leaked to the press.
“He has said sexist things and yelled racist slurs, and that should have been enough for liberal Hollywood to cut him off. But his reported antisemitism has been more consistent, more open, and more egregious,” Malina argued. “The fact that this doesn’t seem to bother Warner Bros. executives makes me wonder if, to them, ‘Jews don’t count’ — as the comic David Baddiel posits in his book of the same name.”
“How can Warner Bros. (a company founded by Jews) possibly consider hiring this man again?” Malina asked. “It is inarguably true that the main targets of Gibson’s prejudice are the Jews, but what boggles my mind is that Hollywood is also overlooking his profound misogyny and forays into anti-Black racism.”
He suggested that Warner Bros. needs an “exclusion policy” that is “equally robust” as its inclusion policy — quipping, “How about ‘Don’t hire racist, antisemitic misogynists’? Free advice: Avoid this trifecta, Warner Bros.”
Malina — who will co-host PRX’s upcoming podcast “Chutzpod!” — has previously spoken about Gibson’s continued success in Hollywood despite his antisemitic past. The television actor cursed out Gibson in 2017 after his film “Hacksaw Ridge” won an Academy Award, and expressed his frustration last year when it was announced that Gibson’s film “Panama” had received financial backing and would begin production.
He has also previously advocated for pushing out actors who have expressed antisemitism, and tweeted last year, “Why’s it so hard to get cancel culture on the line when the problem is antisemitism?”
The American Jewish Committee echoed Malina’s sentiments in a Twitter post on Friday. “Mel Gibson’s comments and work reinforce stereotypes and promote hate,” the group argued. “How he keeps getting work in Hollywood is beyond imagination.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, similarly tweeted a link to Malina’s piece and wrote, “For years, @ADL has tracked Mel Gibson’s antisemitism. Now, my friend, @joshmalina, asks the imp questions: Why is he still embraced by Hollywood? Why is #antisemitism seemingly tolerated?”