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What happened when a Jewish academic tried to convince Mel Gibson not to make his Maccabee movie?

09.13.2011

Jeffrey Goldberg is a prominent reporter for The Atlantic and previously for The New Yorker. He won the Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize in 2005 and a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC. He is also Jewish. Goldberg was working on a biography on Judah Maccabee, the so-called Hero of Hanukkah, when it came to his attention that Mel Gibson was developing the biblical tale into a movie. A few of his colleagues sat Goldberg down with a direct order, "You must go to Los Angeles and stop him."

Spoiler alert: Goldberg did not stop Gibson from continuing development of his Maccabee movie as the project was formally announced last week. But Goldberg did spend an afternoon with Gibson, confronting him on his anti-Semitism and convincing him to leave well-enough alone. This is what happened.

Before conversation of the movie could even get underway, Goldberg had to address Gibson's infamous tirade. Said Gibson, "I was loaded, and some stupid shit can come out of your mouth when you're loaded." But stupid shit about how Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world? "That day they were marching into Lebanon. It was one of those things. It was on the news."

That was about all the evidence Goldberg needed to be convinced of Gibson's anti-Semitic leanings but when asked if he wanted to tell the story of a Jewish hero, Gibson insists it's not about money or personal redemption. It's just a "ripping good read."

For more on Goldberg's encounter with Gibson, which includes detailed quotes as the whole conversation was recorded, check out his article on The Atlantic site. You'll also get Mel Gibson's bonus circumcision joke as well as the context for the quote, "God can do what he damn well pleases!" (It doesn't make him sound any less crazy.)

Source: The Atlantic

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1:31PM on 09/14/2011
I just want a good movie and usually Gibson delivers.
I just want a good movie and usually Gibson delivers.
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2:55AM on 09/14/2011
you will eat my chicken, or I will kill you! LOL!
you will eat my chicken, or I will kill you! LOL!
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-2
12:08AM on 09/14/2011
Here's the thing though... Last time I checked, Israel IS directly or indirectly responsible for all of the current world conflicts.

Of course a Jewish journalist wouldn't agree, but then, he's a little on the biased side don't you think?
Here's the thing though... Last time I checked, Israel IS directly or indirectly responsible for all of the current world conflicts.

Of course a Jewish journalist wouldn't agree, but then, he's a little on the biased side don't you think?
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4:35AM on 09/14/2011
That's right, the people of Israel are responsible because they don't want to give up their land to terrorists for the past couple hundred years...gotcha. [rollseyes]
That's right, the people of Israel are responsible because they don't want to give up their land to terrorists for the past couple hundred years...gotcha. [rollseyes]
5:09PM on 09/14/2011
We appreciate you taking some time away from your Neo-Nazi blog to post here.
We appreciate you taking some time away from your Neo-Nazi blog to post here.
+11
7:20PM on 09/13/2011
I'm sorry, but you find me one, just one fucking person on earth who is prejudice free and that person is still a damn liar.

Being prejudice and being a racist are two very different things. Gibson's crime was that he was famous and let his own prejudice reach the media.

There are certain races I'm not particularly fond of, but I don't treat them bad, think my race is better or want them all dead. Anyone busting Gibson's chops over this is a hypocrite and needs to come down off their
I'm sorry, but you find me one, just one fucking person on earth who is prejudice free and that person is still a damn liar.

Being prejudice and being a racist are two very different things. Gibson's crime was that he was famous and let his own prejudice reach the media.

There are certain races I'm not particularly fond of, but I don't treat them bad, think my race is better or want them all dead. Anyone busting Gibson's chops over this is a hypocrite and needs to come down off their self deluded moral high horse.
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5:51PM on 09/13/2011
There seems to be an overwhelming sentiment here that Mel Gibson's personal views should remain personal and that his ability to make movies trumps anything he says or does when not filming. To this I would suggest you consider this scenario… A man in your town owns a local ice cream shop. It's known for making the best ice cream around. Then one day you come across him on the street and he tells you that he hates you, your family and everyone of your religion; and that you're responsible
There seems to be an overwhelming sentiment here that Mel Gibson's personal views should remain personal and that his ability to make movies trumps anything he says or does when not filming. To this I would suggest you consider this scenario… A man in your town owns a local ice cream shop. It's known for making the best ice cream around. Then one day you come across him on the street and he tells you that he hates you, your family and everyone of your religion; and that you're responsible for everything bad that happens in the town. Do you dismiss all this and say "well, his ice cream is good" so I'm going to keep giving him my business, and his hurtful and unwarranted tirade against me and my family shouldn't affect that? Think about this the next time you decide to flame someone for electing to not see the films of a person that has been personally hurtful to them, no matter how good his films may be.
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12:32PM on 09/14/2011
yeah your right, e should hold someone responsible for the resof their lives over something they said when they were shit faced. yeah that sounds right, people never got drunk and told their parenst they wish they were dead or that they hated them, so their parents should always remeber taht and never forgive them. lets move ontop quality drug addicts who have done deplorable things (RDJ, Johhny Depp) and lets go see and support rapists in a movie (Mike Tyson in hangover)and lets not forgive or
yeah your right, e should hold someone responsible for the resof their lives over something they said when they were shit faced. yeah that sounds right, people never got drunk and told their parenst they wish they were dead or that they hated them, so their parents should always remeber taht and never forgive them. lets move ontop quality drug addicts who have done deplorable things (RDJ, Johhny Depp) and lets go see and support rapists in a movie (Mike Tyson in hangover)and lets not forgive or forget the one guy who said some dumb shit when he was drunk. Sounds good moron!!!
+8
5:31PM on 09/13/2011
All that aside, can somebody explain to me why there's a picture of Colonel Sanders?
All that aside, can somebody explain to me why there's a picture of Colonel Sanders?
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2:55AM on 09/14/2011
lol! just what I wondered!
lol! just what I wondered!
2:18PM on 09/13/2011

Still A tool...

LOL. But even though he hates jews you gotta cut him a little slack the man did give us amazing films in his early career, plus his dad hated jews so much and rubbed it in his face so of course if your raised like that you'll be the same. Now he did give us Mad max 1 and 2. I am not counting thuderdome do to the fact it is pure cheese. Lethal weapons movies also he gave us.
LOL. But even though he hates jews you gotta cut him a little slack the man did give us amazing films in his early career, plus his dad hated jews so much and rubbed it in his face so of course if your raised like that you'll be the same. Now he did give us Mad max 1 and 2. I am not counting thuderdome do to the fact it is pure cheese. Lethal weapons movies also he gave us.
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1:29PM on 09/13/2011
Mel Gibson is a celebrity with the misfortune to have his dirty laundry aired for the whole world to see.

Thinking back to his rant, the Lebanon aspect at least puts it in context, not to excuse him, but it does make more sense to me. I tend to differentiate between Israelis and Jews at large, though, since not all Jews are supporters of Israel.

And I like Christopher Hitchens, but the man can sometimes go a little overboard. It's one thing to be atheist, but he seems almost militant at
Mel Gibson is a celebrity with the misfortune to have his dirty laundry aired for the whole world to see.

Thinking back to his rant, the Lebanon aspect at least puts it in context, not to excuse him, but it does make more sense to me. I tend to differentiate between Israelis and Jews at large, though, since not all Jews are supporters of Israel.

And I like Christopher Hitchens, but the man can sometimes go a little overboard. It's one thing to be atheist, but he seems almost militant at times.

But Mel seems like a nice guy when he's not drinking.
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12:15PM on 09/13/2011

To be fair to Mel Gibson,

Christopher Hitchens comes off as an ass when he tells Goldberg, "You must go to Los Angeles and stop him."

If you're worried about how Mel Gibson's gonna make a movie about Judah Maccabee, work WITH the guy. Sure, he may be a crazed anti-Semite but at least he knows story structure.
Christopher Hitchens comes off as an ass when he tells Goldberg, "You must go to Los Angeles and stop him."

If you're worried about how Mel Gibson's gonna make a movie about Judah Maccabee, work WITH the guy. Sure, he may be a crazed anti-Semite but at least he knows story structure.
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12:23PM on 09/13/2011
Hitchens comes off as a smart guy who knows what he's talking about.
Hitchens comes off as a smart guy who knows what he's talking about.
11:55AM on 09/13/2011
His second unit director will be the Beaver
His second unit director will be the Beaver
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+33
11:49AM on 09/13/2011
Ok, yes Mel Gobson is crazy. So is Tom Cruise. But I never cared about what they do outside the movie set. These actors are very good at what they do.
I can't wait for the next Mel Gibson movie.
PS: I'm Jewish and i thought The Passion of the Christ was amazing and powerful. There was nothing controversial in that movie for me.
Ok, yes Mel Gobson is crazy. So is Tom Cruise. But I never cared about what they do outside the movie set. These actors are very good at what they do.
I can't wait for the next Mel Gibson movie.
PS: I'm Jewish and i thought The Passion of the Christ was amazing and powerful. There was nothing controversial in that movie for me.
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10:55AM on 09/13/2011

I’m Jewish, and I have only one question.


Have the people complaining about Gibson directing this story actually seen any of the films he's directed?

They're all excellent.

Yes, Braveheart is riddled with historical inaccuracies and The Passion of the Christ is controversial, but I don't think Mel Gibson is so out of touch with reality that he’d construct an entire film about a Jewish hero, only to make it anti-Semitic in nature. Would Warner Bros. allow that to happen?

If their argument is that he's using this story as a

Have the people complaining about Gibson directing this story actually seen any of the films he's directed?

They're all excellent.

Yes, Braveheart is riddled with historical inaccuracies and The Passion of the Christ is controversial, but I don't think Mel Gibson is so out of touch with reality that he’d construct an entire film about a Jewish hero, only to make it anti-Semitic in nature. Would Warner Bros. allow that to happen?

If their argument is that he's using this story as a way to convince people that he's not an anti-Semite, well... who gives a shit if it's good and portrays Jews in a positive light?

Personally, I can’t wait to see it.
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