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.

His full statement (transliterated into the British, courtesy BBC): [Update: ABC/AP have the American variant.]

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.

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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. Gorni says:

    It is interesting that this scumbag did not apologize for putting innocent people in immediate danger by driving drunk.

    This omission shows that this whole “apology” is just a cynical maneuver to salvage his quickly dissipating career.

    This guy has absolutely no shame.

    For someone to claim that “every human being is God’s child” and to not really be concerned that he could have easily killed one of “God’s children” while driving drunk is completely telling of his depraved character.

  2. M. Murcek says:

    As long as a portion of society is more lathered up about Gibson (an actor) saying antisemitic things than they are about all the antisemitic bile spewed by politicians (some of them with access to nukes) it’s hard to take any of it seriously. Selective high dudgeon is bullsh*t…

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that his initial press release included an apology for driving drunk.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Gorni: Actually, Gibson did apologize for the DUI in his FIRST statement, issued hours after his arrest:

    After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed,” Gibson said in a statement. “I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the LA County Sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person. I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health.”

    He issued a second apology focusing mostly on the anti-Semitism issue because it, not the DUI, is what he’s under fire for.

  5. M. Murcek says:

    Not to put too fine a point on it (or to excuse DUI, which is a serious offense) moaning about an apology – or lack thereof – for DUI while the resurgence in worldwide antisemitism portends possibly another WWII style conflagration is beyond simply inane. Could it be a change the subject moment?

  6. James Joyner says:

    MM: While I’ve seen various accounts of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, I’ve certainly seen nothing indicating Holocaust II is afoot. What, exactly, are you referring to?

  7. B. Minich says:

    Remember, though he was brought up that way, so I can see that perhaps he firmly believed it in the past, and is struggling to change his view now – and perhaps the alcohol brought out the part of him he was trying to supress.

    Still, though, his comments should be condemned and scorned. If he truly means his apology, it is a good start, but it will take a lifetime to get that out of your system.

  8. anjin-san says:

    Off topic comment deleted. Please review OTB Site Policies. -editor

  9. Wayne says:

    The only reason anyone cares is because Mel made his movie about Christ. The Jews was in a outrage about the movie and now it is payback time. Personally I did not see why the movie was such a big deal on either side and I do not see why it is a big deal about his comments now. When someone famous bashes Christians or right-wingers, there is no outrage. Another double standard.

  10. Julian says:

    First, I agree with Wayne.

    Secondly, Gorni states that Mel is trying to “salvage his quickly dissipating career”
    Quickly dissipating career? Mel Gibson has a reported net worth of $850 million dollars and appears to make quite a bit of money off new & existing projects in the States and Europe. Who cares about a career?

  11. randall says:

    Alcohol can cause nice people to say things they do not mean, think about it a minute,after a night of drinking at the club don’t guys use the lines “I love you”, “I’ll still respect you in the morning”, “Yes I’ll call you”. Alcohol is a drug and very powerful depressant so I have to forgive Mel. By the way, if this would have been Adam Sandler (who is Jewish) ranting about Christians the news media would not care,and the Hollywood community would fall all over itself to offer support. This is the Devils payback for the “Passion”. This may well backfire on the Jewish community so they may want to ease up a bit, Mel will most likely be back better than ever.

  12. Missy Hepburn says:

    It is one of the most obvious fallacies in the world to say that there is a double standard because we more easily tolerate it when people say hurtful things about a group that is a majority and/or is in power as opposed to a minority. There’s nothing stinging about saying, You white people are lazy, because that statement is clearly not true and carries no cultural baggage. But it would be shocking and terrible to say the same thing about any minority group. It isn’t a double standard — the groups are simply in different positions relative to one another.

  13. Wayne says:

    You said “There’s nothing stinging about saying, You white people are lazy because that statement is clearly not true”. One it can is still stingy even when it is not true. Two it sounds like you believe that statements about minority must be true. Third prejudging someone because of the color of their skin is being prejudice regardless of one status. That is like saying someone is not guilty of murder or drug possession because he belongs to a minority group. One can argue that those in greater position of power prejudices can cause more harm but that doesn’t mean those with lesser power don’t do harm. Also just being white doesn’t but an individual in a great position of power. Bill Cosby and Jesse Jackson has a great deal more power then average white person.