Gibson: I Am Not an Anti-Semite
In words that I am sure will spark comparisons to Richard Nixon’s declaration “I am not a crook,” [and O.J. Simpson’s search for the “real killer”] Mel Gibson has proclaimed that he is not an anti-Semite.
There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark.
I want to apologise specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI (driving under the influence) charge.
I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena.
As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologise directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.
The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life.
Every human being is God’s child, and if I wish to honour my God I have to honour his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.
I’m not just asking for forgiveness.
I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.
I have begun an ongoing programme of recovery and what I am now realising is that I cannot do it alone.
I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery.
Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable.
But I pray that that door is not forever closed.
This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic licence. This is about real life and recognising the consequences hurtful words can have.
It’s about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad.
While the nature of his remarks, combined with the radical notions of the sect to which he adheres, makes it impossible for me to believe that he is not anti-Semitic, it’s not implausible to me that Gibson–who, after all, has made his living for the past thirty-odd years in an industry where Jews are not strangers–honestly believes otherwise. I also take him at his word that he’s truly sorry for the hurt his words have caused and that his chief concern is for regaining his honor, rather than his ability to make a buck.
Redemption is not impossible. After all, George Wallace sufficiently rehabilitated himself among Alabama’s black citizenry by 1986 that he won re-election on the strength of their vote; surely, Gibson’s transgressions pale in comparison to Wallace’s. It will take time, perhaps many years, to regain his reputation, however. And, for many, it will be forever ruined.