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The Right-Wing’s Defense of Mel Gibson August 4, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in entertainment, hate speech, religion.

The whole Mel Gibson affair has been an ugly display of how many Americans rationalize bigotry and refuse to understand the impact of hateful speech. The worst offense, of course, was Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic comments the night he was arrested for drunk driving. We have heard his apology and every individual may choose whether or not to accept it. For me, it is hard to accept an apology for anti-Semitic comments when it is quite obvious that Mel Gibson himself still harbors his anti-Jewish beliefs… a public relations disaster cannot reverse a lifetime of prejudice towards a particular group.

What has disturbed me almost as much as the Mel Gibson episode itself is the right-wing response to the incident. When Rep. Patrick Kennedy was caught driving drunk in Washington DC, Fox News and the right-wing had an absolute field day. They had every right to criticize the congressman for risking the lives of others by driving under the influence, but you would expect them to be equally as angry when Mel Gibson was pulled over while sloshed. Instead, we have seen a consistent right-wing defense of Mel Gibson, including a defense of his anti-Semitic tirade and attempt to resist arrest.

On the August 2 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity attempts to compare the outrage over Patrick Kennedy’s arrest to the outrage over Mel Gibson’s arrest. Of course, he mentions his appreciation for Gibson’s honesty about his nighttime adventure and criticizes Kennedy for not “telling the truth” when he was pulled over. Hannity somehow comes to the conclusion that Kennedy’s incident was much more offensive than Gibson’s, ignoring the fact that Kennedy had a peaceful arrest while Gibson verbally attacked a Jewish officer:

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: All right. Now I want to ask you, when Patrick Kennedy crashed his car into a barrier, saying to police at 3 in the morning he was going for a vote and was taken home by police, I said, “I want him to get help.” I said, “But what he didn’t do at the time was admit the truth.”


HANNITY: Gibson, I want him to get help.

COULTER: Right. He has a little sketchy-wetchy (ph) problem.

HANNITY: He’s drinking. He says these things.


HANNITY: But he came on and admitted it, profoundly apologized. After he gets help, he plans to make good. It seems it’s not going to be accepted by people. Should it be?

COULTER: Sure. Of course. What people do when they’re drunk, especially someone with a problem, as Gibson apparently has, I mean, obviously it’s a different standard. He didn’t, you know, drive a woman off a bridge and, you know, he’s not trying to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee either.

HANNITY: By the way, and he didn’t go home that night, and he admitted the truth. It seems to be a big difference. That doesn’t matter.

COULTER: And meanwhile, what he says, blind drunk is what Cindy Sheehan says. Stone cold sober. And according to Maureen Dowd, she has absolute moral authority. So how about talking to all of these Democrat supporters who talk like Gibson does when he’s drunk?

HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you this. Is it always going to be…

COULTER: And that isn’t exaggeration, by the way.

HANNITY: No, no. But is there always going to be a double standard when it comes to conservatives, what they say, liberals what they say, liberals, as you mentioned, a bridge incident. Liberals have always forgiven and forgotten.


HANNITY: I honestly want Patrick Kennedy to get help. I’ve known a lot of people that have had alcohol or drug problems. And I said so at the time. But you’ve got to be straight with us.

The mind-numbing banter between Coulter and Hannity was a not-so-eloquent attempt to avoid why Americans are angry with Mel Gibson. I have barely heard any criticism of Gibson because he was drunk driving… people are angry over his anti-Semitic comments. What is this bullshit about honesty and finding the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous? People are not criticizing Gibson for the disease of alcoholism, he is being criticized because of another disease that he chooses to keep: bigotry.

Leaving Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity’s recently-found desire to help those who are struggling and moving on to Brent Bozell, president of the annoyingly conservative Media Research Center. Bozell quickly mentions in one line (five words long) that Gibson’s comments were “disgraceful”. He then proceeds to ignore Mel Gibson’s prejudice and instead attacks those who are offended by hearing the anti-Semitic remarks:

The paparazzi news media can’t get enough of this story, and some, like ABC’s Diane Sawyer, can barely conceal their glee. The hard news covered, here comes the analysis, with this-man-will-never-get-another-job-in-this- town reports everywhere you turn, fueled by the likes of Arianna Huffington, who has denounced Gibson’s “odious racism”… The first thing Mel Gibson and everyone else should do is ignore people like these. They are hypocrites.

Apparently, Bozell’s advice to Mel Gibson is to “ignore” people who are criticizing him for his anti-Semitic comments. Bozell then goes on to attack the media and others for not criticizing actor Ian McKellen when he accused the Catholic Church of “misleading us all the time” and that “the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction”. Although these comments are offensive to many and probably shouldn’t have been said, there is a big difference between McKellen’s statements and Mel Gibson’s remarks. Most importantly, Ian McKellen is an openly gay man who has spent his entire life listening to the Catholic Church condemn him for who he is. The Vatican and anti-gay activists use the Bible to call gay people “immoral”, “deviant” and “hell-bound”. McKellen was not initiating the attack, he was responding (appropriately or not) to attacks on his humanity and ability to live as he chooses. What has the Jewish community ever done to Mel Gibson to evoke such an attack?

Bozell continues his condemnation of television shows and movies that he perceives to be anti-Catholic. Fair enough, but we are talking about entertainment and fiction, not true hatred spewed out of a drunken man’s mouth. Bozell needs to remember that television is not reality, and Mel Gibson’s comments were all too real for many Americans.

Mel Gibson should be forgiven, but not because of a statement released by his public relations guy. He needs to prove to the Jewish community and other communities he has offended in the past that he is not only sorry for speaking like a bigot, but he is sorry for being one. He needs to admit who he is and prove that he is working to overcome his intense prejudices.

Until then, he can get drunk with Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Brent Bozell, because his Hollywood friends may be dwindling.


1. C. Trint - August 4, 2006

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is also sticking up for Mel Gibson. If it would have been George Clooney acting drunk like an asshole, Rush and Bill O’Reilly would have been attacking him for weeks. The right-wing groups don’t care a bit about the anti-semitic comments… they turn the whole thing around and make it about themselves. Americans need to notice that the extreme-right is once again standing up for bigotry.

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