Gibson Arrest a New Chapter in Long Struggle


Mel Gibson has attributed his victory over addiction in part to the religious faith that inspired the movie "The Passion of the Christ," which many critics said was anti-Semitic.

After his arrest for drunken driving Friday -- and an anti-Semitic tirade he allegedly made at officers during the incident -- Gibson may have to prove that he is clean and sober and that he is not racist.

Gibson is staving off accusations of anti-Semitism following an arrest on the suspicion of DUI on Friday. He has been dogged by similar allegations since 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," which many critics in the Jewish community called anti-Semitic.

The entertainment news Web site TMZ says it obtained four pages of Gibson's original arrest report.


According to the report, Gibson went on an anti-Semitic, expletive-laden tirade, where he allegedly threatened the arresting officer and tried to escape arrest.

During his arrest, he reportedly said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked arresting officer James Mee "Are you a Jew?"

Gibson has acknowledged some wrongdoing and apologized, saying in a statement: "[I] said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable."

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable," he said. "I am deeply ashamed of everything I said."

'He's a Bigot'

Still, Gibson's apology rang hollow to some critics.

"I think we deserve better," said Abraham Fox, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League." I think we deserve [for] him to stand up like a man and say, 'These are things that I said. I apologize for them. They are, in fact, despicable, and I will do everything I can to learn and atone for them.'"

Abraham said the actor-director's true nature had come through, even in his inebriated state.

"All his protestations during 'The Passion of the Christ' controversy -- that he respects everybody, loves everybody, and cares about everybody, Christians and Jews. It was just a sham," he said. "For in his heart, and in his mind, he's a bigot. He's an anti-Semite."

Gibson, some observers say, should enter a rehabilitation program and come out genuinely changed. That is the only way he can erase the stigma of being an alleged bigot.

"He needs to get into some kind of alcohol and psych treatment program, and come out a visibly changed man and not repeat his previous behavior," said crisis management expert Jonathan Bernstein. "People judge us by our actions, not by what we say."

'I Just Didn't Want to Go On'

In 2004, Gibson acknowledged that he had battled addiction and spoke with ABC News' Diane Sawyer about "The Passion of the Christ" and his struggle.

He told Sawyer that he had hit bottom about 15 years ago.

"I just didn't want to go on," he said.

"Everyone's got something," he said. "I would get addicted to anything, anything at all. OK? Doesn't matter what it is. … Drugs, booze, anything. You name it -- coffee, cigarettes, anything. All right? I'm just one of these guys who is like that. That's my flaw."

A Long Struggle

At his lowest, Gibson said he considered jumping out a window.

"I was looking down thinking, 'Man, this is just easier this way,'" he said in 2004. "You have to be mad, you have to be insane, to despair in that way. But that is the height of spiritual bankruptcy. There's nothing left."

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