Hollywood vs 'Mad Mel': The Sequel - New anti-Semitism claims hit Mel Gibson

 

For two decades, Mel Gibson was at the top of the Hollywood tree. Building on his successes as an actor, he won an Oscar in 1996 for directing Braveheart and routinely commanded salaries of more than $20 million.

But allegations of domestic violence and anti-Semitism in recent years have rocked the American star’s career. And now, incendiary new claims from a scriptwriter have re-ignited that scandal in dramatic fashion.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Warner Bros was shelving “The Maccabees”, a film about the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid Empire in Judea in the second century BC that was to have been directed by Gibson.

A nine-page letter to Gibson from writer Joe Eszterhas, leaked to The Wrap, gives his detailed opinion on why the plug was pulled: 

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make “The Maccabees” is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews.”

“I believe you announced the project with great fanfare – “a Jewish Braveheart” – in an attempt to deflect continuing charges of anti-Semitism which have dogged you, charges which have crippled your career,” he said, alleging that Mr Gibson never intended to make the film.

Eszterhas, who has previously said that Gibson “shared the mindset of Adolf Hitler,” worked on the script for two years. He sent the script off to Warner Bros executives in February, and was told it had “no feeling” and “no sense of triumph”.

The letter paints a lurid picture of the Academy Award winner, claiming that in their meetings he “continually called Jews ‘Hebes’ and ‘oven-dodgers’ and ‘Jewboys’,” and described the Holocaust as “mostly a load of horseshit”. According to it, Gibson is said to believe that there is a “Jewish/Masonic conspiracy to destroy the Catholic Church”, and almost pushed the writer into quitting when he proclaimed: “What I really want to do with this movie is convert the Jews to Christianity.”

To help ensure the accuracy of the film’s historical setting, Eszterhas says Gibson hired two “Biblical advisors” whom he referred to as “Father Fucko” and “Rabbi Clueless”.

In his response, published on rival blog Deadline, Gibson claimed that the only reason the project was dropped was that the delivered script was of poor quality. “Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced 8 years ago,” he wrote.

“Both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time.”

A Warner Bros spokesman appeared to indicate that the project had not been whollycanned: “We are analysing what to do with the project,” he said.

Since his arrest for driving under the influence in 2006 - when Mr Gibson told an arresting officer “Fucking jews… the jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” – the actor’s career has stalled somewhat. Winona Ryder claimed in 2010 that Mr Gibson had called her an “oven-dodger” (a reference to the gas chambers) at “one of those big Hollywood parties”. In the same year a cameo appearance in Warner Bros’ blockbuster comedy The Hangover part 2 was cancelled after complaints from the cast and crew.

The Eszterhas  letter depicts Mr Gibson as living an isolated and lonely life despite his £500m fortune. He is said to read few newspapers or magazines and rarely turns on the TV except to watch movies - often his own. But there was little sympathy from The Anti Defamation League, long-time critics of Mr Gibson.

“The latest revelations would be surprising if not for the fact that it fits nicely into a pattern of a serial offender, a serial hater, and a serial bigot,” said its director Abraham Foxman.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit