July 2, 2010 by Marc Lamont Hill
“Liquor make you tell the truth.”
My Aunt Sarah used to tell me this whenever someone in the family would try to apologize for getting drunk and hurting someone’s feelings. Her point was that, despite our attempts to “blame it on the alcohol,” the state of inebriation doesn’t prompt us to say things we don’t really mean. Instead, spirits simply remove the inhibitions that suppress our innermost thoughts and feelings. As a result, we should not put much stock in the subsequent apology, which has more to due with embarrassment than remorse.
This has certainly proved to be the case for Mel Gibson.
In 2006, an intoxicated Gibson was pulled over for speeding on a Malibu highway. As the police attempted to take him into custody, Gibson went on a lengthy and vicious anti-Semitic tirade, blaming the Jews for everything from global warfare to Bobby Brown leaving New Edition. Fully aware that such moves are a severe occupational hazard, a sobered up Gibson quickly issued a public statement in which he expressed regret and shame for his antics. More importantly, he expressed disbelief at the anti-Semitic venom of his own comments, assuring the public that his drunken rant was not reflective of his true beliefs. To underscore his point, Gibson quickly checked into a rehabilitation center, sparking a new celebrity trend of using rehab as means of wedging space between their hate-speech and their individual character.
Soon after the incident, Jewish leaders like Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, made it clear that they were unwilling to accept Gibson’s apology. Simply put, they didn’t believe him.
The mother wit of my Aunt Sarah aside, there were multiple reasons to believe that Gibson was less than contrite. Despite numerous attempts, Gibson failed to unequivocally reject his father’s claims that the Holocaust never happened, instead choosing to sidestep the question with fancy rhetorical footwork. Also, The Passion of the Christ, Gibson’s record-breaking film, placed exclusive blame on the Jews for the death of Jesus at the expense of Roman accountability. Additionally, Gibson had made a career of uttering equally vicious public statements against other groups, such as women and the LGBT community. Surely, all of these issues weighed into the ADL’s decision to reject Gibson’s dubious apology.
Now, in the wake of Gibson’s most recent outbursts, they have been proven right.
According to several published reports, Gibson has been caught on tape and e-mail making equally offensive comments during an argument with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. In the midst of an intense argument over custody of their 8-month-old child, Gibson repeatedly called Grigorieva a “b—-,” “c—,” and “whore,” promised to burn down her home, and threatened to sodomize her. Gibson warned his ex that her appearance would get her “raped by a pack of niggers.”
Apparently, they didn’t cover racism and misogyny during his last trip to “hate rehab.”
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