Actor Mel Gibson is out as a co-grand marshal for a huge Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans after parade officials said they received “significant feedback” that included “threats.”
What are the details?
The Krewe of Endymion parade — described on its website as “by far the largest parade with the largest crowds in Mardi Gras” — made the announcement Sunday afternoon that Gibson is out, WWL-TV reported, adding that fewer than 24 hours before that announcement the parade said he’d participate.
“The Krewe of Endymion has received significant feedback about our grand marshall [sic] announcement yesterday evening,” Dan Kelly of the Krewe of Endymion said in a statement, WWL reported. “Some of this commentary included threats that cause us great concern.”
The statement added that “in the best interest of the safety of our riders, special guests, and everyone that welcomes us on the streets, Mel Gibson will not ride as a co-grand marshal for our 2023 parade,” the station noted.
Jewish groups blast parade for choosing Gibson
The Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups issued a scathing statement in response to the parade choosing Gibson in the first place.
“Although it has been announced that Mel Gibson will no longer ride due to reported threats,” the statement said the Jewish groups — which include the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans — “are appalled that Endymion chose Mel Gibson as the parade’s 2023 Grand Marshal to begin with.”
More from the statement:
“Mel Gibson has a long history of making antisemitic, racist and misogynistic slurs. While the actor has made half-hearted attempts to apologize for his remarks over the years, there is still a great deal of pain associated with his name and deep wounds in the Jewish community from those controversies, which may never heal. Given his history of fueling antisemitism and other forms of hate, we find his choice as Grand Marshal of Endymion was completely insulting and shortsighted.
“Although we are relieved he is no longer riding, we hope the Endymion leadership will take the opportunity to learn why the selection of Mel Gibson caused such pain and disappointment to the Jewish community as well as the marginalized communities he has harmed in the past.”
A Gibson representative told People magazine Monday that Gibson and his team had no comment about the grand marshal news.
Not the first shot over the bow at Gibson
Hollywood actor Joshua Malina — who’s been in “The West Wing” and other productions — penned a December 2021 essay for the Atlantic bluntly titled, “Cancel Mel Gibson,” along with an accompanying question: “Why is Hollywood still hiring this raging anti-Semite?”
Comments on Malina’s essay in a Yahoo Entertainment piece about it were decidedly in Gibson’s corner and accused Malina of sour grapes and rehashing old news, including Gibson’s drunken, anti-Semitic rant in the back of police car in 2006.
Interestingly, Malina gave Whoopi Goldberg a pass not long after his essay was published when she was suspended for two weeks as co-host of “The View” after saying “the Holocaust isn’t about race” since dictator Adolf Hitler and other white Nazis murdered “white” Jews in concentration camps. Instead she said it was “about man’s inhumanity to man.”
Malina told Page Six that “to me, there is a bad person who is a Jew hater, and then there’s Whoopi Goldberg, who misspoke or needed to clarify or educate or discuss.”
As for Gibson, he apologized for his 2006 words and reportedly educated himself about the Holocaust and quietly conducted related endeavors, such as his philanthropic work to help Holocaust survivors in eight countries through the Survivor Mitzvah Project.
‘Unless you are completely without sin’
“I humbly ask that you join me, unless you are completely without sin — in which case you picked the wrong f***ing industry — in forgiving my friend his trespasses, offering him the same clean slate that you have me, and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame,” Downey said in regard to Gibson.
Before those pointed words, Downey revealed to listeners how Gibson had helped him — previous to Gibson’s own downfall:
When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope, and he urged me to find my faith. It didn’t have to be his or anyone else’s as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in a lead of a movie that was actually developed for him. And he kept a roof over my head, and he kept food on the table. And most importantly he said that if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoings, and if I embraced that part of my soul that was ugly — “hugging the cactus,” he calls it — he said that if I hugged the cactus long enough I would become a man of some humility and that my life would take on a new meaning, and I did, and it worked. All he asked in return was that someday I’d help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume that at the time he didn’t imagine that the next guy would be him or that someday was tonight!
Downey added to the crowd that Gibson had “hugged the cactus long enough!”