The killing thing about actor-Director Mel Gibson is not the racist, sexist, anti-Semitic slurs that he's uttered. It's not his dumb, boorish, near maniacal behavior. It's not his smug, self-righteous, holier than thou, smart alecky attitude. And it's not his I can thumb my nose at the film industry and the fans posture that grates, irritates, and made him persona non grata in much of Hollywood.
The killing thing is that he's never uttered a word of apology, or shown a scintilla of remorse about any of this. Gibson's racist and sexist rant against his former girlfriend is simply the latest infuriating example. Radaronline.com got the indicting tapes from his girl friend and says there's much more to come from Gibson's foul mouth.
So, there are three things that can be done about Gibson. One is to ignore him. The second is to rant against him. Neither means much. The third is to take action. That means only one thing. Just say no to Gibson. Hit him where it hurts, his wallet, full press boycott of his films, DVDs and promotional materials. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment has already taken than first step. A few days before radaronline released Gibson's latest racist slur filled rant, the entertainment agency told Gibson that it would no longer represent him. Lest anyone think, why bother, he's a washed up, Hollywood hack, whose best days on the big screen are way past, wrong.
Gibson is still a cash cow in the film business. Braveheart grossed $200 million, the Passion of the Christ, nearly $400 million, the Lethal Weapon series several hundred million. Hus latest film, Edge of Darkness, came in second to Avatar in gross during the first couple of weeks of its release at the box office. Gibson's not finished. He'll be seen in the Beaver directed by Jodie Foster and then he will star in (and co-write) How I Spent My Summer Vacation. The guy is so popular that he even turned down starring roles in The Book of Eli, the A-Team, Jonah Hex The Low Dweller, The 28th Amendment, Dan Minter: Badass for Hire, By Any Means Necessary and The Men Who Stare at Goats. He even declined to reprise his roles in Lethal Weapon 5 and Mad Max 4. He still commands a hefty fee for his roles. He got his usual $25 million for Edge of Darkness.
A boycott of Gibson's films and DVDs has meaning not solely because he's a jerk who says terrible, hurtful, bigoted things and makes violent threats. But, because he is still a big, rich, influential, and bankable name in Hollywood. And though many in the film business may hate his guts he makes money for the industry and whatever he says and does makes news, gets the ear of legions of his loyal fans) and is grist for the news and TV tabloid mill.
Gibson is indeed a piece of work, and based on his past verbal binges, his career should have been in the tank a long time ago. But he's Hollywood, and so he's tolerated, and the talk that this latest outburst could ruin his career is just that -- talk. It will take more than racist, stereotype-laced rants by a big name Hollywood celeb for that to happen. It will take millions just saying no to Gibson. Start today.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press).
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