Mel Gibson is in trouble.
It's easy to focus on Gibson's recent tirade caught on tape, and to speculate on his career and future, because his anger and underlying fear are so obvious. Yet, like most troubled people, it doesn't matter how many times Mel Gibson apologizes, or hires the likes of me to spin his way out of the public eye (he is not a client), if he doesn't consciously get professional help (and Gibson needs help), he will continue his covert campaign of misogyny, homophobia, and prejudice, until he is either incarcerated or dead.
The question isn't whether Mel Gibson's career is in trouble, because it clearly is. It's one thing for an actor to be labeled "difficult," it's a totally different animal when someone in the public eye demonstrates characteristics of evil. Truth is the ultimate spin, and although there are lots of PR people and attorneys who will take Mel Gibson's money, until he's willing to drop the veil of anger, and become transparent to his own deep fear and hurt, the public and the media will not be kind or forgiving.
At 54-years-old, Gibson is at the stage in his career where he's operating without a net. Although money may not presently be an object, his reputation is severely damaged, along with his future earning potential. Right now, there are only two exits for Mel Gibson: One is through the door of healing, which will take him out of the public eye, possibly forever. For many rich and famous people, the idea of never being in the public eye again is daunting at best, terrifying at its worse. Until a former celebrity discovers their own self worth outside of the constant spotlight and fans, there is nothing more emotionally devastating than being approached with the question, "I know you! Weren't you once famous?"
On the other hand, if Gibson chooses to buy-and-spin his way out of this current crisis, he will become a Hollywood outcast, unable to find substantial work, and tainted forever for future personal and professional relationships of value or meaning.
We can't, however, look at Mel Gibson and not ask the questions, "How, in some way, have we contributed to this man's rage and hatred? How are we Mel Gibson?"
As a journalist, I once covered a story about a celebrity stalker. I asked the detective in charge how someone could spend so much time stalking another human being. The cop asked me, "Have you ever Googled someone you met and then went further, trying to find more information or pictures of them? If a part of you was fascinated with this person beyond what you already know, and you felt the need to gain more information, you've practiced a mild form of stalking."
So, how are we practicing mild forms of Mel Gibson's fear and rage?
With all crisis situations, there is an opportunity for learning, growth, healing, and renewal. Mel Gibson vocalized the threat of domestic violence, racism, overt sexuality, rape, and unfettered fear and anger in this recently released conversation with his former girlfriend, not surprisingly, all common themes in today's media and entertainment industry. There isn't a day on live TV, a sitcom, or a motion picture, where someone isn't expressing the same rage and hatred in one form or another that we heard from Mel Gibson's current recording.
It's easy to point a finger at a troubled Mel Gibson. It would be infinitely more productive if both the media and us, their audience, recognized how we allow and encourage similar negative messages into our homes, and collectively vowed to aggressively purge those vile mind-sets forever.