Jewish reporter defends Mel Gibson: 'He's not the person you think he is'

Allison Hope Weiner discusses her evolving friendship with the Australian actor and calls on Hollywood to stop black-listing him.
By Kate Stanton Follow @KateStan Contact the Author   |   March 13, 2014 at 8:40 PM
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It's been 10 years since Mel Gibson made Passion of the Christ, which was unfortunately followed by a succession of public missteps, including a drunken anti-semitic tirade and DUI arrests. Gibson, once seen as one of Hollywood's biggest film stars, saw his career tank in the aftermath -- Hollywood's elite refused to work with him and his private problems overshadowed his public persona.

Jewish journalist Allison Hope Weiner, who wrote several articles about Gibson's downfall, has now written a Deadline piece calling on Hollywood insiders to forgive the 58-year-old actor.

"As a journalist who vilified Gibson in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly until my coverage allowed me to get to know him, I want to make the case here that it is time for those Hollywood agencies and studios to end their quiet blacklisting of Mel Gibson," Weiner said.

"For the longest time, I disliked Gibson and thought he was a Holocaust-denier, homophobic, misogynistic, racist drunk," she wrote, but said she started to forgive Gibson when they became friends. "It started when I interviewed him in 2006 for an EW cover. I could see that he was smart, expressing sincere empathy for the people he’d hurt. I had to admit to myself that I was impressed that he hadn’t shied away from answering my tough questions."

Weiner said she came to see Gibson as a man struggling with alcoholism and depression, and wanted to help him.

"Hollywood has long been a town famous for loving a good comeback story. In Gibson’s case, I believe that a few powerful people have gone out of their way to prevent that," Weiner concludes.

"He wasn’t the bad person I thought he was back when I first wrote about him, and I’m telling you, he is now not the person you think he is. As one A-list star told me recently, "Mel has spent enough time in the penalty box.'"


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