Gibson's Damage Control

Whether Mel Gibson has a third statement lined up is anybody's guess. The disgraced star, who unleashed a barrage of anti-Semitic bile Friday, apologized a little bit on Saturday before eventually apologizing a lot more on Tuesday.

After all the apologizing, is Gibson going to be able to resurrect his career, and is his public relations team doing a good job of trying to save it?

Certain prominent Hollywood figures believe that Gibson can escape long-term harm to his reputation by following the example set by the likes of Hugh Grant. He needs to use America's talk show culture to his advantage, they say.

"He'll apologize, he'll do some community service, he'll pay some money to a Jewish charity, he'll appear on Leno and Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel and look very sad and upset. He'll get a huge round of applause from the audience, he'll probably go to Israel and say something there and that will be the end of it."

This synopsis was not from Gibson's spin machine but actor Ben Stein, who admitted to being "shocked, astonished, disgusted, dismayed (and) really horrified" when he heard what Gibson said during his arrest.

Not everyone thinks Gibson will have it so easy.

"I don't think there is a path out of this," said Michael Levine of LCO publicity, who argued that the hate-filled comments Gibson made during his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving make this a very different case from Grant's ill-advised tryst with prostitute Divine Brown. "I don't think he can restore his career."

A 'PR Novice Mistake'?

However, Levine thinks Gibson's publicity department followed the "general basic rules of crisis management -- humility, speed, contrition and personal responsibility," and that the actor has been well represented.

"They have done an extraordinarily good job with a perfect storm nuclear disaster," he said.

Other experts in the field of public relations disagree and believe that the situation has not been handled well.

"He should've stayed low-key for a while as the media attention will die down soon," said Jonathan Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management.

Gibson issued a statement in the immediate aftermath of this arrest and a lengthy second statement to the media early Tuesday in which he asked "for forgiveness."

"If that second statement was written for him by any public relations professional, that public relations professional shouldn't be working for him," Bernstein told ABC News on Wednesday. "That's a PR novice mistake."

What was the problem?

"He made some classic mistakes in the second statement," Bernstein said. "He was repeating the allegations in the context of denying them."

It seems Gibson may have fallen into the same trap as President Nixon when he chose to announce to the world: "I am not a crook."

"The first statement didn't go far enough, but I would not have recommended he issue the second statement," Bernstein said of Gibson's damage control effort.

"The first missed a direct apology to the offenses he committed, but in the second he over-apologized and repeated a lot of the negatives he originally said during the incident," Bernstein said.

Rehabilitation, Contrition Will Be Key

So how would Bernstein have advised Gibson?

"First is what he's doing: Rehabilitation -- Alcoholics Anonymous -- apologizing specifically to the groups he's offended," he said. "Then he needs to make a direct outreach to Jewish groups, women's groups [Gibson is reported to have made offensive remarks about a female officer] and other groups he has offended."

Bernstein warned, though, that simply saying the right things would not be enough.

"Unless he's truly changed his ways, he will come across as disingenuous, insincere and people will smell that lie quickly," he said.

What Gibson's publicity department plans to do next is not known. What is fact is that Gibson's outburst rocked Hollywood. Nevertheless, Ben Stein knows the film industry better than most and does not expect long-term problems for Gibson.

"Hollywood is about making money," Stein said. "This is not a town that worships the Ten Commandments; this is a town that worships the golden calf."