Not that anyone SHOULD need reminding, but just in case someone DID forget, Mel Gibson is a raging asshole and all-around bad person. To remind us, Winona Ryder emerged from her self-quarantine to tell The Sunday Times about that time in the 1990s when Gibson said homophobic and anti-Semitic things to Ryder and her late friend, Kevyn Aucoin. When discussing anti-Semitism in the industry, she said, “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?’ And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’”
This should sound familiar to gossip hounds, as Ryder first told this story to Alex Pappademas in a GQ profile in 2010:
Pappademas notes that “nothing happened” back in 2010 when Ryder’s story was first published, but in 2010 people thought Mel Gibson was done. He hadn’t worked since his 2006 DUI arrest in which he hurled anti-Semitic abuse at a police officer, and though he had a movie come out in January 2010 (Edge of Darkness), he was then recorded hurling abuse at his ex-girlfriend (and the mother of one of his children), Oksana Grigorieva, including wishing that she would be sexually assaulted. So it seemed like Gibson’s comeback was torpedoed by his own revolting behavior, and Ryder’s story was sort of confirmation bias—by 2010, we knew Gibson was a virulent bigot, and this was just more proof it wasn’t a recent issue.
And yet, he did make a comeback. In 2011 a movie Gibson made with Jodie Foster, The Beaver, was released. No one saw it, but it proved there was A-list talent still willing to work with him, and in 2013, Foster and Robert Downey, Jr. yucked it up with Gibson at the Golden Globes, further proving he was not beyond the pale for some of the most high-profile figures in Hollywood. Since 2010, Gibson has been nominated for an Oscar, for directing Hacksaw Ridge, and been in ten movies, with three more coming up, and he’s supposed to direct a remake of The Wild Bunch. Maybe he’s not the leading man he once was, but Mel Gibson’s career is fine.
But now Winona has come to remind us that Mel Gibson really, really sucks. I hope this becomes her thing. I hope she occasionally drops this reminder into interviews for the rest of time, because Gibson should never ever be let off the hook. He offered a standardized apology, then blamed everything on substance abuse, and then in 2010 showed that lashing out in bigoted abuse is what he does when he’s mad. When given a plum opportunity on national television to reset his public image, instead he dug in his heels and insisted on downplaying years of bigoted incidents as “one bad night”. Gibson has never fully articulated that he understands he did something wrong, that he needs to grow as a person. Instead, he has always seemed bitter at being “forced” to apologize, and annoyed with the public for not simply letting him “have a nervous breakdown” in peace. Seriously, f-ck that guy. Winona is our Forever Queen for never forgetting, and never letting us forget, that Mel Gibson is a total sh-theel.
Also, she tells an absolutely CHARMING story about Francis Ford Coppola trying to provoke tears on the set of Dracula by yelling “You whore!” at her and trying to get her male co-stars to go along with the abuse. Keanu declined to participate, as did Anthony Hopkins, but I suppose this means Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes, and Richard E. Grant went along…?