It’s Time Folks: Forgive Mel Gibson and Move On #GetOverIt
Before I start, allow me to make something crystal clear: I am not condoning Mel Gibson’s more erroneous actions, nor am I asking you to forget that they have happened, I am simply asking you to accept this man’s apology and move on.
Let’s face it, this is the man that gave us Martin Riggs, Porter, William Wallace, Lt. Col. Hal Moore and Rocky the Chicken. I think it’s high time we examine the fall of Mel Gibson and why it’s a great idea to bring this man back into the Hollywood fold, and another chance in our hearts.
Mel Gibson’s Undesirable No. 1 Status: How He Did It (and whoa Nelly did he ever do it)
In order to accept one’s apology, you have to understand why they had to apologize in the first place. Let’s go ahead and rip that Band-Aid off right now and deal with it directly.
Incident Number 1: In 2006 Mel Gibson was pulled over by a the police for driving while intoxicated. At the time he was very much drunk, and he indicated that his wife was leaving him and then went on a brief and exasperating tirade blaming “Jews” for all of the wars in the world. Clearly not his finest hour. TMZ leaked the details of his incident, and once the media picked it up it was everywhere. The public sure does love to pick on a “racist” celebrity. Gibson made his public apologies and checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for alcohol abuse. In 2007, as part of his probation, he attended a progress report session where it was reported that he had finished the rehabilitation as well as a self-help program that was above and beyond the requirements of his probation.
Incident Number 2: In 2011 Mel Gibson was charged with an assault and battery case against his girlfriend (and mother of one his children), Oksana Grigorieva. They settled the matter as he plead no contest, but not before an audio tape of Gibson speaking with Grigorieva surfaced that had him spewing racially charged comments and a general angry/bitter tone towards Grigorieva. The 2 split permanently, agreeing to joint custody of their child, and again Gibson made his apologies, and even set up a sizable trust fund for their child.
Neither one of these incidents paints Mel Gibson in an overwhelmingly positive light. These incidents happened and they are ugly examples that celebrities are real human beings that are capable of making some exceptionally bad decisions, just like other people that we know (or maybe even exactly like us!).
Right off the bat, there is the alcoholism, which is never a good thing, and Mel Gibson, by his own admission, had been drinking alcohol since he was 13 years old. Clearly, once he’s had a few drinks he loses the filter in his brain that would likely stop him from saying the more outrageous things that he’s said under the influence. I know a couple guys like that and they are absolutely pathetic drunks that are prone to random bouts of idiocy, just like Mel Gibson. It doesn’t make their verbal faux pas any less offensive or hurtful, but it also doesn’t represent their true nature and/or beliefs. You have to separate the drunk talk from the drunk and try to diffuse the situation before it gets to the point that it did with Mel Gibson. You also have to encourage the alcoholic to receive help, and by court ordered probation Mel Gibson has gone through the necessary programs, and even completed further programs to ensure his sobriety would continue to be successful. Gibson gave his mea culpa, served his probation and completed extra rehabilitation – so it’s time to put this one to rest. Apology accepted.
Next, there’s the assault charge. There’s no reasonable explanation for domestic violence. If there is an issue that exists between you and your partner that cannot be resolved with words, then walk away from it and take some time to get some perspective. Trust me, your loved one would rather you leave for a short while than for you to throw them a beating. Bottom line, violence is never the answer. Leave, get a good night’s sleep, talk it out with a friend or family member and then attempt the conversation with your partner again at a later date. That being said, I know this one is a tough sale. I’m not thinking that there is an easy path to forgiveness on this one, but let’s try to find any path that we can. We know that Gibson has struggled with alcoholism, and as such has been prone to making bad decisions (again, it doesn’t make it right, but it’s a fact that needs to be considered). Also, he has struggled with manic depression for a better chunk of the last decade. Add the poor decision making with the manic depression, sprinkle in a bit of recovering alcoholic, and top it off with an indeterminable amount of domestic drama (there’s no real way for us to know how toxic they were for each other), and you can start to see why he had the capacity to lash out in the way he did. It doesn’t make it right, but it makes a twisted amount of sense, no? Both parties state that their relationship became increasingly unhealthy and that having a child together made conversations emotional and heated for both of them. Bottom line, he admitted to the charge and complied with his sentence. On top of that, he has been granted joint custody and he made the necessary arrangements to set up a sizable trust fund for their child. It’s a polished turd, but he did in fact cop to the crime and made more than good on the sentence. Also, there’s no way he would get joint custody of the child if he didn’t jump through some serious hoops and show that he has made some legitimate progress. In my book: apology accepted, but I’m keeping an eye on you Mr. Gibson. I won’t tolerate any further violence.
Finally you have the racial remarks, and I could probably write a doctorate level thesis about how they do not matter AT ALL, but instead I will just sum it up like this: We are all racist. Period. Done. We have all said the “N” word in a joke, or slagged off some foreigner with whatever degrading word that came to mind, or picked on someone due to their gender or sexual preference, and you know what? It’s OK. It’s ugly, and it’s stupid, but if we all do it, then how can it be taken seriously when somebody does it A) when they are drunk, or B) in the middle of a private phone conversation between 2 people who’s marriage is falling apart? One should not be judged be every little word they say, they should be judged by their character and their actions. In 2005, Gibson donated $1 million dollars to Mexico to help with the relief effort due to Hurricane Stan. He also sits on the board for Rainforest Conservation, and donated $500K to the conservation work being done in Mirador. Cherry on the top, he donated $10 million dollars to hospitals to help service children with mental illness issues. I’m just saying, the man has put a lot of good money and effort into solving some big problems and that should matter. And I’m not condoning racism, and I am not a person that believes somebody should be judged by their race, as I have found that you should always judge your peers by their character – a bad person is a bad person, regardless of race. Regardless, I am a touch racist, and so are you, and so is everyone. So rejoice! I have found our common bound! We all blurt racist and other such hateful slurs from time to time, so in actuality there is nothing to see here. Mel Gibson didn’t join a hate group, he didn’t burn crosses in anybody’s lawn, and he doesn’t go on daily public tirades condemning anybody due to their race, so let it go. He is not any more or less racist than the average person. If you have ever stated any racist slur in a private conversation, then you have no room to judge Mel Gibson on that alone. He apologized, and since then he has not joined a hate group, he hasn’t burned crosses in anybody’s lawn, and he hasn’t gone on daily public rants condemning anybody due to their race. Apology accepted.
I know some of you can’t help but think, “I’m not going to forgive this guy, he’s just too toxic.” That’s your loss. He is a wonderfully charitable man, and an extraordinarily talented actor and director. Trust me, he still has the magic. He and Antonio Banderas literally saved the Expendables 3 from being unwatchable in 2014. In 2011 he was self deprecatingly hilarious and uncompromisingly endearing in Jody Foster’s the Beaver. His 2012 film Get the Gringo was a spiritual successor to Payback and frankly just as good. Also, he’s not too shy to take a smaller role, as he killed it in the 2013 grindhouse flick Machete Kills. Mel Gibson may not be making the top grossing box office films like he used to, but he is still putting in the work and making some damn good films. On top of all of this, he is an outstanding director, and his recent Oscar winning film Hacksaw Ridge is proof positive of that. Plus, if you are going to hate Mel Gibson because of the stupid stuff he’s done when he’s not on screen, then you might as well start hating Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lawrence, Sean Connery, Gwyneth Paltrow, Russell Crowe, Lady GaGa and the list could just about go on and on and on… forever. Hate, especially of celebrities, is petty and unnecessary. Judge them (if you must) by the quality of their work and what’s in their heart, not by the crazy town banana pants life that they lead. Essentially: Get over it. If Mel Gibson was pulling a Nicholas Cage, and making schlock film after schlock film just to collect a paycheck, I could see a need for the endless complaints, but in this day and age, Gibson is still churning out quality work. And again, he is super charitable for a lot of different groups that really need help. Let this man have better roles in higher profile films, I guarantee you this, he will make whatever movie he is in all the more better for having him in it.
Now if you still harbor hesitations to allowing Mel Gibson back into your entertainment heart, well then allow me to show you how you are very likely a hypocrite:
Example 1: Eric Clapton once stated that he was against black immigration into the UK and that people of his home country needed to “keep England white,” and he said that live in concert in front of thousands of fans, and yet a vast majority of people still love his music and listen to it without ever thinking about the racist tirade that he publicly went on.
Example 2: Tim Allen was a drug trafficker and escaped a life sentence in jail by rolling on all of his underworld homies. Not only was moving dope, but he was a narc too! People have loved him ever since in Toy Story, Home Improvement, the Santa Clause, and a whole host of other movies and TV shows.
Example 3: Mark Walberg once beat down multiple Vietnamese-American men while hurling racial slurs at them. Yet we loved him in Ted, the Departed, the Italian Job, Lone Survivor, Boogie Nights, etc.
Example Omnibus: Matthew Broderick vehicularly slaughtered 2 people, Sean Connery stated that there were times that it was OK to hit a woman, Rebecca Gayheart ran over and killed a child, Mike Tyson raped and beat women, Sean Penn beat women, Charles S. Dutton killed a man, Elvis Pressley was primarily into jail bait, Fran Drescher believes that she was abducted by aliens, Megan Fox wholeheartedly believes in Leprechauns, Chris Brown beats women, Hugh Grant prefers prostitutes over his wife, Dr. Dre beat up an interviewer, Rick James used to kidnap and torture women. The list could go on for another 5000 words and only scratch the surface.
If you don’t trust me on this matter, then perhaps you might trust Robert Downey Jr. In 2011, Downey Jr. was honored at the American Cinamatheque Awards, and would only accept the award if Mel Gibson would hand it to him personally on stage. Gibson agreed, and while on stage Downey Jr. didn’t talk forever about thank yous and his accolades, he asked the entertainment community to welcome Gibson back to the fold. Robert Downey Jr. said, “I humbly ask that you join me, unless you are completely without sin, and in which case you picked the wrong fucking industry, in forgiving my friend of his trespasses and offering him the same clean slate that you have me and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame.” So says Iron Man, so say we all. Leave Riggs alone, and let him play in your reindeer games once more. Hollywood needs more talented mature actors, and Gibson has talent in spades. It’s time ladies and gentleman: forgive Mel Gibson and welcome him back to your theaters and your TV screens.