— A weekly feature on This Week.
Mel Gibson's controversial new film, The Passion of the Christ, opens Wednesday. For months, it's been generating heat and some of the biggest advance ticket sales in motion picture history. Monday will no doubt bring more of both, when the syndicated radio program, Speak Your Piece, airs a controversial interview with Gibson's 85-year-old father, Hutton Gibson. In it, he says Jews are taking over the world and calls the Holocaust "mostly fiction."
Hutton Gibson: "These people [World War II Nazis] are efficient. They know how to do things, and if they had set out to kill six million Jews, they would have done it. But all we hear about is Holocaust survivors. 'Oh, we knew it happened. Here is a survivor, there is a survivor. My father and mother were survivors.' They weren't that efficient. There were too many survivors. And they claim there were six million in Poland. After the war, there were 200,000, it is said. Therefore, he must have killed six million of them. They simply got up and left. They were all over the Bronx and Brooklyn and Sydney, Australia, and Los Angeles. They have to have some place to go where there is money. No, they don't work anywhere where they can get out of it. They are great pencil pushers and they are the superior people, and therefore they are entitled to the top jobs, supervisory stuff and so on."
In an interview with ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer, Mel Gibson made it clear that he loves his father but does not share his views.
Mel Gibson: "Do I believe that there were concentration camps where defenseless and innocent Jews died cruelly under the Nazi regime? Of course I do. Absolutely. It was an atrocity of monumental proportion."
Diane Sawyer: "And you believe there were millions, six million?"
Mel Gibson: "Sure.... Their whole agenda here, my detractors, is to drive a wedge between me and my father. And it's not going to happen. I love him. He is a good father."
The week also brought pictures of the biggest troop rotation since WWII. One hundred thousand troops are returning from Iraq, and Paul Bremer, America's civilian administrator in Iraq, honored their service.
Bremer: "We are in the middle of the largest troop rotation since the Second World War. After months of arduous, dangerous, and uncomfortable duty, many of you are being relieved now by your compatriots. People everywhere know, understand, and appreciate the sacrifice you've made. You have made America and each of your countries and the world a safer place. You can rightly tell your children and their children we liberated Iraq and put it on the road to democracy. Thank you for your service to your country, your service to the world, and your service to the people of Iraq."
In this week's "Funnies," the late night comics say farewell to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who suspended his presidential campaign.
The Late Show with David Letterman:
Letterman: "Yesterday, Howard Dean announced that he is quitting the Democratic presidential race. He lost again in Wisconsin, and I don't think he had done really well in any primary, really. At one time, he was the front-runner, and now he has dropped out of the race, and we have some exclusive footage now, shot by CNN. This is Howard Dean at home in Vermont. Take a look."
[Picture of Dean's house; with audio of his infamous campaign scream and sounds of breaking glass]
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:
Leno: "I thought showbiz is rough. Politics is rough. Did you see how [Dean] left Wisconsin this morning? Because you know, he is out of money: The whole $40 million is gone. Show him leaving this morning going back to Vermont."
[Vintage film footage of man hanging from an airplane wing; punctuated by Dean's campaign scream]
The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn:
Kilborn: "Let's see if Dean fulfills the promises he made in Iowa."
Dean [Jan. 20 speech at a rally in Iowa]: "We are going to California …"
[sound of buzzer, text on screen says "FALSE"]
Dean: "… Texas …"
[sound of buzzer, text on screen says "NOT TRUE"]
Dean: "… and New York …"
[sound of buzzer, text on screen says "NICE TRY"]
Dean: "… and South Dakota …"
[sound of buzzer, text on screen says "LYING"]
Dean: "… and Oregon …"
[sound of buzzer, text on screen says "DREAM ON"]
Dean: "… and Washington …"
[sound of buzzer, text on screen says "FORGET IT"]
Dean: "… and Michigan …"
[text on screen says "OK, HE ACTUALLY MADE IT TO MICHIGAN"]
Dean: "… and then we are going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House …"
[sound of buzzer, text on screen says "BULL****"]
Dean: "… Yeah!"