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Winona Ryder says Mel Gibson made homophobic and antisemitic comments at party

Actor has opened up about facing anti-semitism in her industry

The Plot Against America - trailer

Winona Ryder has accused Mel Gibson of making homophobic and anti-semitic comments at a party they both attended.

The actor recounted the alleged remarks during an interview with The Sunday Times, in which she was asked whether she has ever experienced anti-semitism.

“We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends, and Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get Aids?’” Ryder told the newspaper.

“And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’”

According to Ryder, Gibson “tried” to apologise later on. The Independent has contacted Gibson’s representative for comment.

Gibson hurled anti-semitic statements during a 2006 arrest on suspicion of drunk driving, according to a sheriff’s report shared at the time by TMZ. The actor apologised for the “despicable” remarks in a statement to The New York Times.

In her interview with The Sunday Times, Ryder spoke more generally about anti-semitism and the ways she has faced it throughout her life, telling the newspaper: “There are times when people have said, ‘Wait, you’re Jewish? But you’re so pretty!’

“There was a movie that I was up for a long time ago, it was a period piece, and the studio head, who was Jewish, said I looked ‘too Jewish’ to be in a blue-blooded family.”

Speaking about her Jewish heritage, Ryder described herself as “not religious, but I do identify”.

“It’s a hard thing for me to talk about because I had family who died in the camps, so I’ve always been fascinated with that time,” she said.

Ryder stars in The Plot Against America, the miniseries adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel of the same name, which presents an alternative history of the US under an anti-semitic regime.

The series, released on HBO between March and April 2020 in the US, is coming to Sky Atlantic and Now TV in the UK from 14 July.

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