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EXCLUSIVE: My Interview With Rabbi Hier Of Simon Wiesenthal Center About Mel Gibson: DUI Arrest ‘Shows He Has A Problem With Jews… It’s Not Just His Father That Is A Problem.’

By | Monday July 31, 2006 @ 10:26am PDT

Here is my exclusive interview this morning with Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center — an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. The rabbi was speaking by telephone from Israel, where he said his organization was distributing funds for aid and shelter to people all over Israel, including to Israeli arabs. (Click here for my UPDATED: Hollywood Reacts To Gibson.)
Q: So what are your feelings about this Mel Gibson story?
A: Look, the issue with Mel Gibson is very simple. Mel Gibson is driving under intoxication. There are no Jews in sight. He can blame his car, he can blame his liquor, he can blame the sheriff. But he can’t blame any Jews because there are none around. That’s precisely who he blames. Yet that’s the problem. That shows he has a problem with Jews. And there’s an old Yiddish saying, which loses a lot in translation, ”What someone drunk has on his tongue comes from his conscience when he is not drunk.” My point is that, even if you look at his apology itself, in the nature of the apology he knew exactly what he’d said. And though doesn’t specially address anti-Semitism, you can see that long apology he has it in mind he knows he said that.
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UPDATED: Hollywood Reacts To Gibson

By | Sunday July 30, 2006 @ 9:26pm PDT

2ND UPDATE:  *More Hollywood Reaction to Mel Gibson*

UPDATE: *Newly promoted president of production for Walt Disney Pictures Oren Aviv and Endeavor agency partner Ari Emanuel have both stepped forward and publicly expressed their opinion about Mel Gibson in light of his alleged anti-Semitic slurs made during his DUI arrest in Malibu Friday. But the two Hollywood execs have very different views.*

Aviv.jpgAviv visited the set of Mel Gibson’s in-the-works movie Apocalpto months ago and came back singing its praises and predicting Oscar consideration. So it stands to reason that he’s now telling Slate‘s Kim Masters: “I’ve worked with Mel on several films over the years and we have a great relationship. We all make mistakes and I’ve accepted his apology to what was a regrettable situation. I wish him the very best on his path to healing.” It appears that Aviv’s Disney, through its Buena Vista arm, will continue with plans to distribute Gibson’s forthcoming film, Apocalpto. Interestingly, the movie was supposed to be released August 4th but was moved to a December 8th release. Shooting on the film ended in June after what was described as mounting delays. But, in a May Entertainment Weekly article quoting Aviv, Disney was said to “remain upbeat about the project, which reportedly costs less than $50 million. ‘Mel showed us footage that blew us away,’ says Oren Aviv, Disney’s [then] chief … Read More »

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EXCLUSIVE OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION! Cover-Up Denied: LA County Sheriff’s Malibu/Lost Hills Station DUI Arrest Reports Contain Anti-Semitic Slurs Allegedly Made By Mel Gibson; He Apologizes For ‘Despicable’ ‘Out of Control’ ‘Not True’ Drunk Statements

By | Saturday July 29, 2006 @ 10:45am PDT

UPDATE: No TV Interviews ‘Anytime Soon’ For Mel

UPDATE: New Mel Gibson Statement: ‘I Am Not A Bigot’; Apologizes To Jewish Community

UPDATE: EXCLUSIVE: Mel Gibson Was ‘Really On The Verge Of Suicide’ Before His DUI Arrest

UPDATE: ABC Cancels Mel Gibson’s Holocaust TV Mini-Series Because Of His DUI Anti-Semitic Slurs

UPDATE: Hollywood Reacts To Gibson

UPDATE: EXCLUSIVE: My Interview With Rabbi Hier of Simon Wiesenthal Center About Mel Gibson

Lt. Steve Smith, in charge of the detective bureau for the Malibu/Lost Hills station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed to me just now that “the contents seem to be similar” between the official reports and the four pages posted by Read More »

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Catholic Moviegoers Overseas Defy Vatican and Sell Out Da Vinci Code In Advance

By | Sunday May 7, 2006 @ 11:44am PDT

In recent weeks, the Vatican has made attack after attack on the upcoming movie version of The Da Vinci Code opening May 19, but that’s not stopping filmgoers in predominantly Catholic countries from rushing out to buy tickets. I’m told that the forthcoming showings of Da Vinci Code are already sold out, or almost sold out, in Italy, Spain and Mexico based on advance ticket sales. The latest Vatican salvo was reported today: in an anti-Da Vinci Code documentary, Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church. Arinze’s appeal comes after another high Vatican official called for a boycott of the film. The Vatican’s position is that because other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs, Christians should get tough. Meanwhile, all these attacks are simply generating even more publicity for the already well-hyped film. Perhaps Sony, the producer of the movie, has the Vatican on PR retainer?
The Italian embrace of Da Vinci Code follows this April incident: the Interior Ministry removed a promotional movie poster from the scaffolding of a Rome church undergoing renovation after its clergymen complained. The enormous signage, featuring a picture of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and the title of the upcoming film, had been plastered for a few weeks on the  scaffolded facade of the church of St. Pantaleo, located just off a major thoroughfare in Rome’s historic center. A spokesman for Rome’s Vicariate said the … Read More »

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Unusual MI3 Ticket Sales at Hollywood ArcLight Near Scientology Celeb Center

By | Sunday May 7, 2006 @ 11:15am PDT

I have confirmed today that there has been an unusual pattern of ticket sales for Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 3 at Hollywood’s ArcLight Theater, which just happens to be located right near the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center where Cruise belongs. Unconfirmed anecdotes are circulating on the Internet this weekend of individuals buying hundreds of tickets at a time from the ArcLight. But an ArcLight employee did confirm to me just now that “people have been buying dozens of tickets at a time” for MI3, which is definitely an extraordinary sales pattern for the movie theater (or any theater, for that matter). Certainly, the “M” word — for manipulation — comes to mind.

Meanwhile, MI3′s opening weekend is near-disastrous. See UPDATED: MI3 Opening Weekend Freefall. Cruise’s Fault, Hollywood Players Tell Me.

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Will MI3 Withstand Tom Cruise Cooling? Or Da Vinci Code Faint From Vatican Heat?

By | Friday April 28, 2006 @ 1:21pm PDT

Two major Hollywood movies that help kick-off the summer silliness are shaping up as referenda more than recreation. That’s because the opening box office numbers for Mission Impossible 3 will gauge Tom Cruise’s viability given all that bad press he’s getting (most of it his doing). Meanwhile, today, the Vatican continued its anti-Da Vinci Code vendetta when a crony of Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to boycott the film. There’s always been an imbecilic debate in Hollywood whether bad pre-release buzz can harm a movie’s financial prospects. But that focused on the content or cost or production of the movie. Now we have a dilemma where outside agitation may negatively impact what is widely touted as two pretty good films. Which begs the question: Can MI3 and Da Vinci Code withstand Cruise cooling or Vatican heat?
The latest Vatican kvetch came from Archbishop Angelo Amato, the No. 2 in the Vatican doctrinal office. Addressing a Catholic conference in Rome, he called the book “stridently anti-Christian .. full of calumnies, offences and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the Church” and added: “I hope that you all will boycott the film.” The movie, which premieres at the Cannes Film Festival next week and goes wide May 19th, is of course based on the megaseller which has blown out over 40 million copies. Despite the Vatican’s best efforts, Catholics clearly inhaled the book along with everybody else, so it stands to reason that they’ll take in the movie, too. Amato, according to Reuters, attributed the book’s popularity to ”the extreme cultural poverty on the … Read More »

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VF: Pellicano Almost Jew for Bert Fields

By | Wednesday April 26, 2006 @ 6:27am PDT

Vanity Fair reports that Pellicano and lawyer Bert Fields were so close that Pellicano contemplated converting to Judaism. “Six or seven years ago, Anthony comes home one night and tells me we are going to become Jewish and that Bert Fields has arranged conversion classes for both of us,” Kat Pellicano tells Vanity Fair. “I said, ‘Anthony, with all that Italian and Catholic bullshit of yours and my being an almost atheist from Oklahoma, why the hell do you want us to become Jewish?’ He tells me, ‘Because Bert thinks it will be good for my business. Most of the lawyers out here are Jews, so it would be a good thing.’ I refused to participate, and the idea eventually went away.’’

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CBS Promotes Scientology for Paramount

By | Monday April 10, 2006 @ 6:22pm PDT

Here’s something you rarely see: a local television station promoting, that’s right promoting, Scientology, as part of its newscast. But that’s exactly what KCBS TV — CBS 2 in Los Angeles — did today in its 5 p.m. slot. (Interestingly, there’s no promo, much less one word, about the CBS O&O’s “exclusive” piece on its website.) Talk about a lame scoop: some couple who are Scientology members were interviewed praising the religion and its most famous member Tom Cruise to the skies. No attempt made to present the other side. Gee, could this be synergy? After all, Viacom’s Paramount is releasing Cruise’s Mission Impossible 3 on May 5, and the fortunes of that movie depend heavily on the star-producer’s fading popularity with audiences because of his over-the-top hysterical defense of Scientology and TomKat. Yes, CBS and Viacom are two separate companies now. But never forget that wily octogenarian Sumner Redstone controls both as chairman and a majority owner of their voting shares.

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Oscar’s Jewish Fallout

By | Saturday March 11, 2006 @ 1:16pm PST

Jewish JournalHere’s the new annual Purim cover spoof by the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. It sends up this town’s Jew/Oscars/Hollywood ties, especially Jewish discomfort with the moral equivalence in Steven Spielberg’s Munich. “Spielberg to Jews Post-Munich: “I wish I could quit you.” And “Spielberg to Direct “Balanced” Jaws Sequel: Amity Beach”, showing Bruce the Shark about to lay a big wet kiss on Steven. (You know why the shark is called Bruce, of course: after Spielberg’s Great White lawyer, Bruce Ramer.) And “Jewish Kids Riot After Blasphemous Cartoon Depiction” showing South Park tot Kyle Broflovsky, the Jewish kid. Also, disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff with Mickey Mouse ears: “The Hat Means Nothing!” More hilarious, even though they were trying to be serious, is the Jewish Journal inside review by Tom Tugend (is that a Jewish name?) of the Oscars from the Jewish perspective. Homey Rachel Weisz wins! Serves it right that Munich loses! Jon Stewart more Jewish than Billy Crystal! JJ cover enlarged

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