Gibson's Promotion of New Movie Leaves Jews Baffled

Mel Gibson -- who entered a special screening of his forthcoming film in a mask and wig to avoid reporters -- is only raising more questions about his marketability and future as a Hollywood star.

The beleaguered 50-year-old actor and Oscar-winning director arrived in disguise on Monday at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla. School officials later said in a statement that Gibson was "deeply touched by the warm reception he received."

This would be among Gibson's first public appearances since his drunk driving arrest on July 28, and his subsequent apology for unleashing an anti-Semitic tirade during his brush with the law.

The actor is clearly trying to move on, but as he prepares for the Dec. 8 release of "Apocalypto," Jewish leaders think he has more work to do to heal still-fresh wounds.

"He said very hurtful things, and he issued an apology, but he said he'd reach out to the Jewish community, and he simply hasn't done that yet," said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"It's amazing that he waited for weeks after that incident to make a public appearance, and when he did, it wasn't to make good on his apology, but rather to sell his film," said Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

"Gibson cynically thinks that a few glib quotes can make his problems go away. It won't. He has to deal with what he's done."

Mel's Anti-War Statements Don't Go Far

At a screening of "Apocalypto," Friday at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Gibson criticized the war in Iraq, and compared the collapsing Mayan civilization depicted in the movie to the United States.

"What's human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?" he told the audience, according to the Associated Press.

Gibson's statements could be seen as a move to mollify anti-war sentiments in Hollywood, according to Phil Fink, host of the "Shalom America" radio show.

"This guy clearly has to win back the people in Hollywood that he's lost," says Fink.

"It's not a secret there are a lot of Jewish people in Hollywood, and Mel has worked with many of them, and will need to keep doing that.

"He can speak out against the war. But I don't know what he can do to redeem himself right now," added Fink. "It will take time, and he will have to prove himself."

Foxman says he can't read Gibson's criticism of the war without thinking about the actor's tirade on the night of his arrest. According to a police report, an inebriated Gibson was quoted as telling one officer, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

"If Jews are responsible for all the world's wars, then by that logic, they are responsible for the war in Iraq," says Foxman. "Gibson has to put matters like that to rest. Until he does, it just hangs over him."

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