We last checked in on Mel Gibson in late 2006, when he came to Michael Richards’ defense after the comedian had a meltdown on stage with the N-word, in what Allahpundit rightly called a “moronic convergence.” Late yesterday, Radar Online claimed that it had a recording of a phone message from Gibson to the mother of one of his children in which he excoriated her choice of clothing by using the same word in much worse context than Richards ever intended, along with a threat to burn down her house. However, Radar Online has not released the audio:
In one of the most explosive, racist and vile outbursts by a celebrity ever caught on tape,Mel Gibson told the mother of his love child that the way she was dressed would get her “raped by a pack of n***ers,” RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.
It’s a shocking and blockbuster development in the couple’s bitter legal battle, and Mel’s disgusting words are on audio tape. His racist, misogynist statement is one of the secrets lurking in his war with his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.
RadarOnline.com has heard the tape, which also includes Mel telling Oksana he will burn down her home.
Drunken Mel previously shocked the world with his anti-Semetic comments when busted for DUI. Now, the new racist outburst has taken the Oscar winner to an even deeper low.
Well, the last time we checked in with Radar Online, they were reversing themselves at high speed after claiming to have exclusively learned that Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was retiring from the bench. Their “exclusive source” turned out to be a student in a law class that misunderstood a hypothetical posed by his professor. Their track record for getting things right is somewhat spotty.
However, this case has at least as much evidence as the Gore-masseuse story, which so far just hinges on one source entirely — the complainant. Radar claims this time to have the evidence in its possession, or at least to have had it long enough to review it. That convinced the NAACP and the Urban League to send out press releases blasting Gibson for his remarks. Gibson’s past bigoted rants makes this allegation a lot more credible, too, and people say a lot of really stupid and self-destructive things during child-custody and support disputes.
But Radar has not made the tapes or the digital clips public, either, which would allow people to assess whether (a) they contain the remarks that Radar and Gibson’s estranged girlfriend allege, and (b) it’s actually Gibson who made the remarks. If Radar wants to be taken seriously, they have to release the recordings at some point. If he did make these remarks, his career should be over; racism is practically the only taboo left in the entertainment world, and even that’s probably qualified. But before he gets buried, someone should make sure that Radar isn’t just whistling Roberts again.
Update: If true, the LA Times movie blog 24 Frames says that this tape will be a lethal weapon to Gibson’s career, especially given the title of his next project:
If these comments prove to be true — and again, a strong qualifier here that reporters at this paper are still, as of posting time, seeking firsthand confirmation — then it’s not only Gibson who’s in trouble, but the film itself.
“The Beaver” was perceived as a risk even before Gibson came on — this is a script, after all, in which a loner man talks to a beaver puppet on his hand as though it’s a human entity. Gibson’s casting was seen as a challenge in part because of his age — the character was originally written as in his 40s (earlier iterations of the film package alternately had Steve Carell, Hugh Jackman and Jim Carrey interested or attached to the project). But Jodie Foster, who had a professional relationship with Gibson, was packaged with Gibson as the star, in an iteration that would have her directing and co-starring.
Gibson was already seen as a box-office question mark for “Beaver” after his acting comeback, “Edge of Darkness,” grossed just $43 million in the U.S. earlier this year. And any project in development — including a Viking movie he might have directed — probably will go into deep freeze.
But it gets even, um, hairier for “The Beaver.” There will always be talk about building a campaign around someone other than Gibson. But that won’t work. Gibson is the star of the film. You can’t hide him. And putting out any marketing material with Gibson’s face and the words “The Beaver” underneath would be such a laughably bad idea that it would make the Tom Cruise “Valkyrie” eye patch seem like a smart idea.
Actually, although I think Cruise is a nut off screen, Valkyrie was a surprisingly good and accurate movie. But Cruise’s box office will look like Clark Gable’s compared to Gibson if Radar (or someone else) produces the tape.