Mel Gibson issued a self-flagellating apology yesterday for a tirade of anti-Semitic remarks he made during his arrest for alleged drink-driving last week.
For the second time in three days, the 50-year-old actor-director issued a statement berating himself for his inexcusable behaviour after he was pulled over on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu in the small hours of Friday morning and failed a blood-alcohol test. This time, however, he made specific reference to the volley of insults against Jews he launched at his arresting officer and said he wanted to meet Jewish leaders so he could "discern the appropriate path for healing".
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark," Gibson said. "I want to apologise specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested."
He added: "I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery...
"I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed."
The Walt Disney studio has said it still intends to distribute Gibson's latest film, Apocalypto, in December, but Disney's television subsidiary, ABC, has dropped plans to partner with Gibson on a series about the Holocaust.
This is not the first time questions have surfaced about Gibson's feelings about Jews. His last film, The Passion of the Christ, unleashed a torrent of complaints that his version of Jesus's last hours was tinged with anti-Semitism - complaints that subsided after the film turned into a huge box-office hit.
Gibson's second apology followed complaints from one prominent Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation League, that his first mea culpa, issued on Saturday, failed to get "to the essence of his bigotry and anti-Semitism".
In yesterday's statement, Gibson still insisted he was not anti-Semitic. "Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite," he said. "I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith."Reuse content