ADL Wants Mel Gibson Charged with Hate Crime

Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic tirade over the weekend has yielded an even more bizarre response: The Anti-Defamation League is calling for hate crimes charges to be brought.

JEWISH groups have demanded Mel Gibson be investigated for hate crimes after the Hollywood star allegedly made anti-Semitic comments to US police officers when he was stopped on suspicion of drink-driving and speeding.

Gibson’s reported criticism of Jews, contained in a leaked police report detailing his arrest early on Friday morning, included the phrase: “F*****g Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” He has since apologised for his actions, saying they were “despicable”, but community Jewish leaders called for Gibson to be ostracised from Hollywood, where the A-list actor is considered an industry powerbroker.

Calling for a criminal investigation into the Oscar-winning actor and director’s remarks, Abraham Foxman, the national director of the US Jewish Anti-Defamation League, said: “We believe there should be consequences to bigots and bigotry.”

Gibson, 50, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after deputies clocked his Lexus sports car speeding at 87mph in a 45mph zone at 2:36am on Friday in Malibu, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. The actor was later found to have a blood-alcohol ratio of 0.12.The legal limit in California is 0.08, according to the police records.

While I oppose the very idea of “hate crimes” on libertarian grounds, I at least understand the rationale behind them. Painting a swastika on a synagogue or burning a cross on a black man’s yard cause more damage to society than mere vandalism or criminal mischief. How, exactly, drunk driving and speeding–the only laws Gibson is alleged to have broken–can be “hate crimes,” though, is beyond me.

There’s not much doubt that legitimate racism and anti-Semitism are still with us. Still, what remains is a dark shadow of what we had a few decades ago. The professional activist apparatus created to fight them, however, remain. With this announcement, the ADL may be signaling that they’re going the way of the NAACP, PUSH, and many others and simply seizing on every possible opportunity for attention. It’s a pitiful thing to behold. On the other hand, that they have to work so hard to find incidents to publicize is a good thing, indeed.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Pug says:

    Wow. Eight-seven in a forty-five and drunk? I’m sure Mel has a good lawyer, but that situation would be big trouble for most people.

    The hate crime thing is ridiculous. The drunken rant doesn’t make Mel look very good, to say the least.

  2. jclark says:

    Driving drunk is the worst thing he did, speeding is the second and the ONLY things he did wrong. The “hate crime” finger pointing is ridiculous to say â??We believe there should be consequences to bigots and bigotry.â?? is borderline insane. He may have said some awful things but he and anyone is entitled to say what they want no matter how stupid or offensive. Sorry but in this country you do not have the right to NOT be offended.

  3. Wouldn’t the appropriate “consequences” be more in line with not helping Mel make a living (aka not spending your money to see his movies) if you thought he had crossed some line? He spoke freely and then you exercise your free speech rights not to listen to his other paid speech?

  4. McGehee says:

    Why does the ADL feel compelled to make itself look little better than Gibson in this?

  5. Gaijin Biker says:

    Maybe the ADL is trying to do Gibson a favor by making him look less stupid by comparison.

  6. Bithead says:

    Will someone explain to me the difference between what Mel Gibson supposedly said while drunk the other night, and what Kofi Anan has been DOING while supposedly stone cold sober?

  7. Pug says:

    What exactly do Kofi Anan and a link to another tedious rant about liberals have to do with Mel Gibson? Just wondering.

  8. Gorni says:

    With this announcement, the ADL may be signaling that they�re going the way of the NAACP, PUSH, and many others and simply seizing on every possible opportunity for attention.

    This is a cheap shot at the ADL while Israel is being attacked by terrorists. Hate-crimes like Gibsons’ do nothing but help the likes of Hizbollah, Al Quadea, and Saadam while they are trying to destroy us and freedom.

  9. Kent G. Budge says:

    Hate-crimes like Gibsons …

    Whether Gibson committed a hate crime is what is in dispute here, Gorni.

    I despise anti-Semitism as much as the next guy. Gibson has gone down several notches in my estimation as a result of his remarks. But a hate crime? I’m with the libertarians on this one.

  10. jpe says:

    Yelling disparaging remarks about ethnic groups just isn’t a crime, no matter how much some first amendment-loathing people would like it to be. His speech was morally wrong but perfectly legal (well, except for the harassing the cops part).

  11. Gorni says:

    But a hate crime? I’m with the libertarians on this one.

    Normally I would be with you. However, WE ARE AT WAR against the terrorists. During a time of war, parroting the evildoers’ ideology can only help perpetuate terrorism. Al Quaeda will undoubtedly be featuring Gibsons’ words in their next video communique, causing unrest and endangering our troops.

  12. Bithead says:

    What exactly do Kofi Anan and a link to another tedious rant about liberals have to do with Mel Gibson? Just wondering.

    I would have thought that rather self evident.
    The drunken rant of Gibson the other night would seem to be rather neatly embodied within the policices of the ‘United Nations”, and Kofi Annan. specifically, the comment regarding the Jews being responsible for all the wars in the world. Certainly, that perception would seem to be what’s driving the United Nations’ policies toward Israel, these days.

  13. randall says:

    You can speak freely even when your drunk out of your mind. Is it a hate crime when a Muslim screams “death to all Christians”? Is it a hate crime when a Jew screams “death to Islam”? As a former EMS worker I can tell you I have seen belligerent foul-mouth drunks turn into the nicest apologetic people when they sober up. Alcohol is a powerful drug and good people can do and say awful things while under it’s spell.

  14. Gorni says:

    Is it a hate crime when a Muslim screams “death to all Christians”?

    It is a violation of the Patriot Act to aid and assist terrorist groups. People have been imprisoned for a lot less than what the scoundrel Gibson has done.

    Through his anti-semitic remarks, the guy gives inspiration to the terrorists and should be considered an enemy of freedom.

  15. jpe says:

    Gorni, we have that whole first amendment deal-y. Screaming anything but “fire” pretty much falls into that little loophole.

  16. Bithead says:

    jpe; here one point where you and I agree. And, Randal, too… particularly so. I spent an awful lot of my life around bars of various sorts as a professional. I’ve been around countless drunks and that amount of time. I know better than most that 90% of what they say can’t be taken seriously and the remaining 10% might not be.

    And here’s why I brought up the business with Kofi Annan, in another thread;

    There is a major difference between what a drunk sprouts off, angry or not, and what a bureaucrat says and implements as policy. That difference is conscious intent. (Unless you want to argue that the UN and iit’s staff are operating under the influence, at which point I can’t help you)

    However, mark this well;
    The words that were spouted from the mouth of Mel Gibson the other night, are precisely what is implemented as policy by the United Nations, and it’s leader Kofi Annan.. and one presumes they’re sober and thereby are in full control of what they say, and of a full understanding of what they say.

    So, which is more damaging? Which is of the greater import? Of course, conversely, which of the two stories do you suppose the mainstream media spends more time on?

    Mind you, this is not a defense of Mr. Gibson. One happen to think we’re either a lot of him for his past accomplishments. And he will pay what pricey has to pay to make things right here… and in today’s Hollywood, I’ve no doubt that price will be high; There have been many in Hollywood who have wanted his butt in a sling for a long time. He gave them that opportunity the other night. when you get stupid, you pay the price. It’s that simple. I have no problem with that on that level.

    But, there is something of a stench of hypocrisy going on here. The very words that the Hollywood left will justifiably judge Mr. Gibson on in this case, they will ignore in someone who actually has the power to implement as policy… and does… and has as a matter of routine, for many years.

  17. Anderson says:

    Bithead must’ve linked the wrong article, because the existing link demonstrates only Annan’s calling for an “international stabilization force” in south Lebanon.

    And only someone as crazy or hateful as Mel Gibson himself could construe that as being anywhere near par with “the Jews being responsible for all the wars in the world.”

    Bithead, will you provide the correct link please? Thanks!

  18. Bithead says:

    A UN

  19. Anderson says:

    I see that the jackbooted thugs of the UN seized Bithead at his keyboard. Doubtless he’s been sent to the detention center at Turtle Bay, to be tortured with 24/7 readings of the Geneva Conventions and the Declaration of Human Rights until he cracks.

  20. Bithead says:

    Something weird with the comments section, just then, looks like.

    Anyway, try doing a little research about the miriad of resolutions the UN has generated against Israel over the years.

    Oh, you need a list?


  21. superyotagirl says:

    I’m not racist and never have been. I do have orthodox Jewish family members. I do agree that what Mel Gibson said was wrong and hurtful, but I do not believe that he committed a hate crime. There was no physical abuse and technically no verbal abuse either. There is a thing called freedom of speech. If the government and these groups listened to the majority of the United States Population then I think 95% of Americans would be accused of hate crimes. This whole situation is ridiculous and people need to get on with their lives.