The big screen return of Mel Gibson was certain to generate headlines, but not in this manner. As the Oscar winning actor-director makes the media rounds to promote ‘Edge of Darkness,’ an uncomfortable exchange with KTLA’s Sam Rubin is starting to court media controversy.
All eyes are back on Mel Gibson this week, and not just because his first acting role in seven years is about to unspool. A tense exchange during an interview with KTLA‘s Sam Rubin caught the industry by surprise, prompting plenty of media chatter.
In the midst of promoting “Edge of Darkness” with co-star Ray Winstone, Rubin hinted at whether audiences would welcome Gibson back after his now infamous DUI arrest in 2006.
“Some people are gonna welcome you back and other people are gonna be like ‘He should never come back,’” Rubin said, alluding to Gibson’s anti-Semitic tirade during his arrest that prompted a strong response from the Jewish community.
“Why?” Gibson offered.
“Because of what happened before,” Rubin answered.
“What happened before?” Gibson prodded.
“The remarks that were attributed to you,” Rubin countered.
“That were attributed to me, that I didn’t necessarily make,” Gibson stated. “I gather you have a dog in this fight?”
“Pardon me?” Rubin said.
“You have a dog in this fight? Or are you being impartial?” Gibson volleyed.
Finally, an unidentified voice in the background managed to get the interview back on track, but the entire ordeal had already done its damage. Gibson then added, “Well I’m back and I hope people will graciously accept me back.”
Cutting to the news desk, Rubin registered his own conflicted emotions and admonished himself for letting Gibson off the hook so quickly.
“As both a Jew and a human being,” Rubin said during his report, “I was really offended by what he said in 2006; it never really seemed to me that he apologized.”
In a town that loves to forgive its fallen idols, is this latest media imbroglio proof that Gibson will continue to be haunted by his past? Already the video interview has appeared on such leading industry sites as Deadline.com, as well as the Jewish Journal. If so, can Gibson remain a viable artistic force in such a climate? As Rubin himself concluded, the answer may be with the audience itself at the box office.
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