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April 13, 2012 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Joe Eszterhas (writer of The Music Box, Basic Instinct, and many other films) has written a letter to Mel Gibson after the actor neglected to contact him regarding his screenplay for "the Jewish Braveheart," which Gibson had hired him to write.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy (99 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
For those who prefer video:
posted by Fizz at 10:12 AM on April 13, 2012


Crazy Guy In Hollywood #1 writes Crazy Guy In Hollywood #2 a letter full of crazy.

News at 11.
posted by THAT William Mize at 10:17 AM on April 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Rich, misogynist drug abuser gets mad at rich, anti-semitic drunkard.
posted by mkultra at 10:17 AM on April 13, 2012 [12 favorites]


The day I read a letter from Joe Eszterhas to Mel Gibson about a screenplay for a "Jewish Braveheart" is the day that I admit I watch auto racing for the crashes.

Today is apparently that day.

By the way, anytime Titanic comes on cable, I root for the iceberg.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:17 AM on April 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


This was such a stupid letter. This Joe guy is just as big a dumbass for sticking around Mel Gibson to see him act like this *repeatedly*. These allegations are so insane that I can't see why anyone would stick around after the first time this Mel freaked out.
posted by punkrockrat at 10:19 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am disappointed "the Jewish Braveheart" isn't Jesus.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:20 AM on April 13, 2012 [36 favorites]


Bravo, hydrophonic, bravo.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:21 AM on April 13, 2012


Well, that was sad.

Gibson seems like a textbook example of how not dealing with one's own pain -- and clearly, he's got pain he's not dealing with -- can make turn a person into a monster.

But also, you wonder what it must be like to work in Hollywood if, after somebody scares you so much you end up sleeping with a golf club to protect yourself and your wife, you still agree to take your family on a vacation with them. Like, if the first scene was just sort of normal Hollywood stuff that didn't make you run, not walk, away from somebody, then that seems like it must be a pretty dysfunctional culture.
posted by gauche at 10:22 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait - does that mean Mel Gibson did keep his promise after all?!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:22 AM on April 13, 2012


It sounds like Mel Gibson is seriously, seriously mentally ill. As in, he should be in an institution.
posted by empath at 10:23 AM on April 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


But also, you wonder what it must be like to work in Hollywood if, after somebody scares you so much you end up sleeping with a golf club to protect yourself and your wife, you still agree to take your family on a vacation with them.

Money and power.
posted by empath at 10:24 AM on April 13, 2012


Not a fan of either guys.
However, that letter is fucking amazing stuff.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:25 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope "the Jewish Braveheart" refers to the Maccabees.

Because I like saying "maccabees".
posted by DU at 10:25 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


It does! Oh yay!

maccabees maccabees maccabees!
posted by DU at 10:26 AM on April 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


"As you went running wildly away, by the side of the house again, you screamed: "Fuck! Fuck! Fucking hate! Fucking cunt cocksucker whore! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" (To be fair to you: I know you don't drink or use drugs. I respect how seriously you take your AA responsibilities).
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:28 AM on April 13, 2012


that letter is fucking amazing stuff.

Indeed.

I hope "the Jewish Braveheart" refers to the Maccabees.

Open letter to DU: It should go Click, THEN Read (or at least glance) THEN Post. Let me know if you need a diagram.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:28 AM on April 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


I think it's sort of sad/weird that the one rich guy (Eszterhas) would hang out with another rich guy (Gibson) who was so abusive. How many ethnic/religious/racial/sexual/violent slurs and tirades before you stop interacting with someone?
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:29 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I felt pretty sure it was going to be deleted. Then I saw someone call it amazing, so I clicked. Now I'm back to being sure it'll be deleted.
posted by DU at 10:29 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joe Eszterhas and Mel Gibson really are two people who deserve each other.

Indeed, from reading this, I suspect that both have actually died, and that this is a dispatch (the first of many) from their custom-tailored two-man hell.
posted by Naberius at 10:31 AM on April 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Maccabees" is one of those words that makes you feel smarter for pronouncing it correctly.

Like "Oconomowoc".
posted by thanotopsis at 10:31 AM on April 13, 2012


DU: I was once in Herrell's ice cream in downtown Northampton, MA, in December and their mascot stuffed bears were dressed up for the holidays - one wearing a Santa suit, the other with a yarmulke and a sword and a label declaring him "Judah Maccabear".
posted by rmd1023 at 10:32 AM on April 13, 2012


I (heart) Maccabees.
posted by aramaic at 10:33 AM on April 13, 2012 [19 favorites]


I got through about three pages and began to wonder why I wanted to read a letter written by someone crazy enough to even enter into that deal to begin with, and then stick with it through that kind of crap...

so I stopped reading, I'll wait for the movie.
posted by HuronBob at 10:34 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is Eszterhas untrustworthy? Because his letter reads odd, but is pretty damning and in line with things we already know.
posted by Jehan at 10:36 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lesson: If you're not 100% sure if someone who repeatedly says a lot of antisemitic things is actually antisemitic, collaborate with them on a film project. If it bottoms out, then and only then can you be certain that yes, they are antisemitic.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:37 AM on April 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


They spread fire under him, and while fanning the flames they tightened the wheel further. The wheel was completely smeared with blood, and the heap of coals was being quenched by the drippings of gore, and pieces of flesh were falling off the axles of the machine. Although the ligaments joining his bones were already severed, the courageous youth, worthy of Abraham, did not groan, but as though transformed by fire into immortality he nobly endured the rackings.

The Fourth Book of The Maccabees
9:19-20
I would totally go see this violence porn.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:40 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]



I (heart) Maccabees.
posted by aramaic at 12:33 PM on April 13
Nice. Eponysterical, too.
posted by orthicon halo at 10:40 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have been wondering for a while of Gibson was always like this. I mean, he was a very good looking young man, and I wonder if his hatefulness was just overlooked as a result. I just imagine him being at a party and talking, and everybody oohing and aaahing.

YOUNG MEL GIBSON: I am the king of Malibu and Jews control everything sugartits.

EVERYBODY ELSE: Ooh! The pretty man said something!

YOUNG MEN GIBSON: I will do terrible things to women I used to love.

EVERYBODY ELSE: His mouth is moving! He's making noises! SOOOO CUTE!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:41 AM on April 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


I know for a fact that Mel has definitely used those specific slurs repeatedly, so at least he got that part right. The rest doesn't seem so far fetched.
posted by buzzkillington at 10:41 AM on April 13, 2012


"I realized you had knocked over your expensive, beautifully carved totem pole."

Ahahahahaha just everything about this story is solid gold (as, presumably, was the totem pole).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apparently all these things happened over a period time, not constantly and continuously. Not that that would reassure me, but it apparently reassured Joe Eszterhas.
Also, as it says in the letter, the rights to the script Joe was writing were owned by Gibson, so Joe could not just walk away unless he wanted to walk away from the script also, which he was reluctant to do.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:46 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crazy is a lot like infinity. If you add infinity to infinity you get infinity...
posted by tommasz at 10:46 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ezterhaus was on the Today show this morning. Says the letter was not released by him. But that didn't stop him from confirming the details. He seemed particularly pissed off about the way Gibson allegedly acted around his son.

It would not surprise me if this were true (how many stories saying Gibson's an antisemite do there have to be before it becomes believable,) but I wasn't convinced Ezterhaus was telling the truth at first. For the life of me, I can't imagine why he would have stayed in a house for so long with someone who was spewing antisemitic slurs. And brought his wife and kid there, too. Especially considering his own family history -- Ezterhaus already seems sensitive to antisemitism.

This project was first announced in September. I posted about it back then. Jewish leaders didn't seem to be thrilled about Gibson's involvement back then and if true, this letter would appear to confirm their concerns.
posted by zarq at 10:47 AM on April 13, 2012


Paul McCartney should produce a line of gourmet honeys called "Maccabees'"
posted by yoink at 10:48 AM on April 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, it would appear that griphus called it.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on April 13, 2012


Is Eszterhas untrustworthy?

Eszterhas is self-serving, and possibly a bit disingenuous at portraying himself as a man of high ideals, considering how exploitative his best-known titles are. But taken with those grains of salt, I believe what he wrote.

But my god, talk about TL;DR! I was reading the letter aloud to my girlfriend, and was about four pages in when i noticed the cursor was only 20% down the scroll bar. Did I miss anything good by skipping the rest?
posted by ubiquity at 10:50 AM on April 13, 2012


I hope "the Jewish Braveheart" refers to the Maccabees. It does! Oh yay!

No surprise. The stories about the Maccabean martyrs have as much or more opportunities for torture porn than the crucifixion of Jesus.
posted by straight at 10:51 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It sounds like Mel Gibson is seriously, seriously mentally ill. As in, he should be in an institution.

Yeah, if half of it's true, this has got to be some form of illness. I've pretty much gone from hating the very sound of his voice to feeling very, very sorry for him.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:51 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


He seemed particularly pissed off about the way Gibson allegedly acted around his son.

I read an interview with Eszterhas a few years ago - in a regional magazine about Cleveland, actually, in which he explained why he'd left L.A. and moved back to Cleveland. The answer was basically that he didn't want his kids to grow up in Hollywood and become as narcissistic and messed-up as he saw other Hollywood types' kids becoming.

Of course he didn't mention that he'd burned his bridges to that world about as completely as any bridge could possibly be burned with "Burn Hollywood Burn," and that his serious career was pretty much over anyway.

But he has been fairly consistent about his deeply conflicted feelings about Hollywood culture and in particular about his children becoming contaminated by that culture because he went off to get rich there.
posted by Naberius at 10:52 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got to about page 7 when I had to stop. . . because I was too appalled at Eszterhas, for continuing to allow his family, including his child (children? not sure who Kata is, I had to start skimming), to be exposed to Gibson's mentally ill behavior. There comes a point where you do not sit quietly in the dining room, pretending to eat -- you say, "okay, pack, we're going to a hotel."

I suppose it's a good thing for me to be reminded people that amazingly hateful are out there -- I'd never heard at least one of those slurs. But there's also a sickness involved in repeatedly engaging with insanity.

(Gibson does sound bona fide ill -- but how would you know? One of the characteristics of an abuser is that he acts crazy, but only when there will be no consequences -- so you can tell he's in control of the "crazy". But when you're a multi-millionaire movie star, where are the consequences? Where are the times you need to put on your good boy act? Or perhaps Gibson is still capable of putting on the good boy act, when it suits him.)
posted by endless_forms at 10:53 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Did I miss anything good by skipping the rest?"

Uh, yeah! The first act of an AMAZING horror movie starring Mel Gibson as a bloodthirsty racist actor on the hunt for jews in Costa Rica.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:54 AM on April 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wrote this about you in my 2008 book Crossbearer: "No doubt now. Mel was a raving anti-Semite who... shared the mindset of Adolf Hitler."
Regardless of the other details in the letter, I have to say that I would probably not want to work with someone I had ever had cause to say that about, or someone who had said that about me in print.

The idea that one can go from thinking "You share the mindset of Adolf Hitler" to "actually, you don't" to "No, I was right first time" is making my brain hurt a little.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:54 AM on April 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Of course he didn't mention that he'd burned his bridges to that world about as completely as any bridge could possibly be burned with "Burn Hollywood Burn," and that his serious career was pretty much over anyway.

Yep. Why did Eszterhas hang in with the project? Because he hoped it would be a comeback for him.

Sure, that was a horrendous call, but I can see why it might have seemed like it wasn't out of the question at the start of the collaboration.

Also, the mythology that people who are incredible toxic assholes are going to stop their horrible behavior once they stop abusing drugs and alcohol is a powerful one. In many cases, people just become incredible toxic assholes who are sober. Sounds like Mel Gibson is of that number.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:58 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


What does "oven-dodgers" mean as a slur? I mean, I know what happened in the Holocaust, but wouldn't anyone try to dodge being shoved into ovens? Does it imply they're cowards, like "draft-dodgers"? It's probably a waste of time trying to understand insanity, but still.
posted by desjardins at 11:00 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


What does "oven-dodgers" mean as a slur? I mean, I know what happened in the Holocaust, but wouldn't anyone try to dodge being shoved into ovens? Does it imply they're cowards, like "draft-dodgers"? It's probably a waste of time trying to understand insanity, but still.

I would guess it means "ha ha, most of your near relatives perished in the holocaust!" The point is just to rub someone's face in the mere fact of the holocaust by identifying them as implicitly a survivor or a child of a survivor. Hard to get a lot more fucked up than that.
posted by yoink at 11:04 AM on April 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think it's more 'the only reason you're still alive is because you dodged what you had coming to you.'
posted by shakespeherian at 11:06 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Which makes 'oven-dodger' doubly weird, since, like many anti-semites, Mel Gibson thinks that the Holocaust barely even happened, if it really did at all.
posted by NathanBoy at 11:07 AM on April 13, 2012


The other thing about Eszterhas is that he's Catholic himself, and probably heard from a lot of other people in the Catholic circles he's active in about how Mel Gibson was misunderstood and that now he was sober he had moved past all that hateful stuff.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:07 AM on April 13, 2012


I think it's more 'the only reason you're still alive is because you dodged what you had coming to you.'

I took that as implicit in what I was saying.
posted by yoink at 11:07 AM on April 13, 2012


In addition to what yoink said, "oven-dodgers" implies that you (or your ancestors) don't even deserve the "honor" of being mentioned alongside other victims of the Holocaust. It implies that you escaped the Holocaust only through some kind of trickery or deceit, and that the only Jews left alive were the sneakiest of the sneakiest.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:09 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Which makes 'oven-dodger' doubly weird, since, like many anti-semites, Mel Gibson thinks that the Holocaust barely even happened, if it really did at all.

But don't you find that an incredibly common feature of the antisemitic holocaust denier world? "The Holocaust is a Jewish myth, and the fact that they'd make up such a hideous lie about that nice Mr. Hitler just proves that he was justified in trying to exterminate them."
posted by yoink at 11:09 AM on April 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I took that as implicit in what I was saying.

I didn't preview, actually.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:10 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


You may also ask why two Catholic guys (one schismatic, one Roman Catholic but on the ultramontane side as I understand it) thought of themselves as the dream team for making a movie about the Maccabees in the first place.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:11 AM on April 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


When one Hollywood asshole sends another Hollywood asshole an angry letter, is it customary to print it out with little green grammar squiggles from Word and then plaster "THE WRAP Covering Hollywood" on every page? It sort of gets in the way of the rant.

BTW, TMZ has Gibson's response which is remarkably classy.
posted by Nelson at 11:14 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have no idea if the letter reflects reality, but no question Gibson is a scumbag. There are recordings of his voice - released - calling his ex-girlfriend Oksana, wherein he uses slurs against black people and Mexicans, so there is no doubt about the authenticity of that.

So, since it's pretty much common knowledge that Gibson is such a person, how is it, that he's not a social pariah? How is it, that whether you're a Jew or not, you associate with this person at all? Now, I'm not a saintly social activist, but I can tell you right now, that money or not, I for one would have nothing to do with this asshole. Why is it, that accountants, business managers, housekeepers and countless others don't say "no thank you, I won't take your money, fuck off"?

There was a story in LA Times sometime after some antisemitic Gibson controversy, wherein a Hollywood producer said that it all comes down to money, and added - only half jokingly - that if it was Hitler himself, but there was money to be made, many would jump at the chance - and he was Jewish! Now, I know for a fact that many in Hollywood refuse to work with Gibson - some have even said so publicly - but let's face it, it really does come down to money.

The fact that Gibson can get a meal at a restaurant instead of being immediately asked to leave, is to me a depressing reality. He deserves to be shunned, except by mental health professionals who can hopefully help, if he wants any such help.
posted by VikingSword at 11:18 AM on April 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I had not heard that Mel Gibson hates Jewish folk. Thank-you Joe Eszterhas for bringing this to light.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:19 AM on April 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


For the life of me, I can't imagine why he would have stayed in a house for so long with someone who was spewing antisemitic slurs. And brought his wife and kid there, too.

He's a writer. He needs work. No matter how batshit-crazy Gibson may be, the proposed movie would definitely be a high-profile project that any writer would jump at the chance for. The working conditions were likely reflective of Mel's imposed working style. It actually isn't that unusual of an arrangement, especially during the early concepting phases of bringing a project together.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:23 AM on April 13, 2012


Back in 2010, Winona Ryder also said that 'Mel Gibson once called her an 'oven-dodger'
posted by zarq at 11:25 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Eszterhas is self-serving, and possibly a bit disingenuous at portraying himself as a man of high ideals, considering how exploitative his best-known titles are. But taken with those grains of salt, I believe what he wrote.

Thanks. I don't really know Eszterhas, but Mel Gibson's notoriety has gone beyond him. It's sad, although not surprising, that the guy can still make films.
posted by Jehan at 11:28 AM on April 13, 2012


Now I totally want to see them team up for a lightly fictionalized film of "Shut Up Little Man".
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:30 AM on April 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Mel Gibson is from all accounts a horrible human being, but this letter still doesn't ring true to me. The way it starts with a detailed accounting of Why I, Joe Eszterhas, Am Awesome (By Joe Ezsterhas), and then proceeds into an equally detailed accounting of things that Gibson would already know because he did them...there's no way this wasn't designed for public reading.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:38 AM on April 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


From Gibson's response: "I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find offensive."

I don't even understand this part - there was offensive language in the apology?
posted by naoko at 12:15 PM on April 13, 2012


There's something about the tone, the level of detail, or the writer's voice that I can't put my finger on, but it reads like Mel Gibson fan-fiction:

"At the dining room table, Kata said she had never seen you behave this way. But Naomi and I had - - that night you screamed at the priest from Nebraska - - the night I slept next to your golf club with my rosary in my hand. I understood now all too well why Oksana "hysterically" grabbed Luci and ran into the darkness on the hill behind your house in Malibu..."

Every time I read it I can't make it past "that priest from Nebraska" without laughing.
posted by amcm at 12:16 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eponysterical...ahh, crap.
posted by mule98J at 12:16 PM on April 13, 2012


I didn't read the whole letter, but I must comment, it appears that if one pisses off a professional writer one will receive a LONG harangue by mail.
posted by mr. digits at 12:18 PM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mel Gibson is from all accounts a horrible human being, but this letter still doesn't ring true to me. The way it starts with a detailed accounting of Why I, Joe Eszterhas, Am Awesome (By Joe Ezsterhas), and then proceeds into an equally detailed accounting of things that Gibson would already know because he did them...there's no way this wasn't designed for public reading.

Exactly. Ezsterhas is pretty well known as this kind of self-serving scumbag. As crazy as it seems Mel's response seems like the clearer description of what is actually going on here. This doesn't mean Mel Gibson doesn't still deserve his reputation as an antisemite with rage issues, but Eszterhas is just throwing around juicy-seeming stuff that everybody actually either already knows or assumes about Mel, likely in an attempt to deflect blame for the project's failure from his script. That is in keeping with everything I've read about Joe Eszterhas. I'd still probably rather have lunch with Joe than Mel though, if it came to that.

Why wasn't Mel's response linked in the FPP?
posted by anazgnos at 12:19 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had not heard that Mel Gibson hates Jewish folk. Thank-you Joe Eszterhas for bringing this to light.

To qualify my snark, I'd like to add that rich, powerful, established people like Joe E. tend to be out of touch with reality, which may explain this letter, as well as his general ignorance and tolerance of Mel Gibson's frequently documented asshole behaviour.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:24 PM on April 13, 2012


So, since it's pretty much common knowledge that Gibson is such a person, how is it, that he's not a social pariah? How is it, that whether you're a Jew or not, you associate with this person at all? Now, I'm not a saintly social activist, but I can tell you right now, that money or not, I for one would have nothing to do with this asshole. Why is it, that accountants, business managers, housekeepers and countless others don't say "no thank you, I won't take your money, fuck off"?

This is what's important.

Gibson is just one mentally-ill (or whatever) asshole. Eszterhas is what he is. And this whole soap opera is going to play out, with Gibson and Eszterhas as the villain and hero -- or villain and villain or whatever -- distracting everyone from the fact that countless people in Hollywood have gone on working with a violent bigot for years.

If, after this, they quit working with him, saying "In light of his actions, we no longer want to be associated with Mr. Gibson," everyone will applaud them for "doing the right thing," and Mel will continue to be the main demon everyone hates.

But in my mind, it's too late to do the right thing. I mean they SHOULD quit associating with him, but the fact that they haven't for years means they're massive dicks. I don't know what the right thing to do is now, maybe take all the money they've made from Mel and donate it most of it to the Holocaust Museum and the rest to psychiatric treatments for Mel.

If it turns out that Mel "will never work in this town again" than, if this was a just world, the same would be true for all the studio execs who greenlit his projects, promoted him, made tons of money off him, etc.

I think it's possible Gibson is just a bigot (whatever that means), but the more I read about him, the more it sounds to me like he's got a serious mental disorder. If I had to guess, I'd say Paranoid Schizophrenia. Which makes the assholes around him even worse. Their cash cow is someone who desperately needs treatment -- someone they KNOW desperately needs treatment.
posted by grumblebee at 12:28 PM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hope "the Jewish Braveheart" refers to the Maccabees.

Because I like saying "maccabees".


I know about the Maccabees solely through Mayim Bialik's Facebook feed.
posted by Talez at 12:29 PM on April 13, 2012


What I don't get is why it's all apparently screencaps of a Word document or something.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:30 PM on April 13, 2012


there's no way this wasn't designed for public reading.

It sounds like the sort of letter you might write in anticipation of legal action, say, a breech of contract suit. If Eszterhas wanted out of the project, or, as he hints at, wanted to send it out on spec now that it's written and unlikely to be produced, he might write a letter like this with an eye to future conflicts.

My take on the scenario is that one rich asshole made a deal with another rich crazy asshole and now one (or both) of them are regretting it. Don't have any trouble believing that Gibson is actually that crazy, though.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:34 PM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


...there's no way this wasn't designed for public reading.

If you didn't read the whole letter, you missed this:
P.S. I've sent this letter to no one else except Nick Guerra, your assistant, per his previous instructions that I send him whatever I send you so he can make sure you've received it. I believe I deserve a reply from you.
So this wasn't intended as an open letter? And exactly what do all of those "reminders" to Gibson about his shitty treatment of Oksana and random Nebraskan priests contribute to the conclusion the Gibson hates Jews?
posted by fredludd at 12:35 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The day I read a letter from Joe Eszterhas to Mel Gibson about a screenplay for a "Jewish Braveheart" is the day that I admit I watch auto racing for the crashes.

Today is apparently that day.


As long as nobody gets hurt. I'm not sure that's the case here, so maybe I'll just move along, watch some Arcade Fire live at Coachella.
posted by philip-random at 12:47 PM on April 13, 2012


I know how awful these two guys are but if they really made The Maccabees I'd be first in line to see it.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:58 PM on April 13, 2012


countless people in Hollywood have gone on working with a violent bigot for years.

Well, yeah. 'Cause said violent bigot is (much as I hate to admit it), a really talented director who makes movies that a lot of people want to see. Pretty much everything Gibson believes is the opposite of what I believe, but I'm not so sure I'd want people to refuse to work with a talented artist because he's a sick and awful person. Artists are not your friends.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 1:19 PM on April 13, 2012



It sounds like the sort of letter you might write in anticipation of legal action, say, a breech of contract suit. If Eszterhas wanted out of the project, or, as he hints at, wanted to send it out on spec now that it's written and unlikely to be produced, he might write a letter like this with an eye to future conflicts.


Bust a deal, spin the wheel!
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 1:26 PM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know how awful these two guys are but if they really made The Maccabees I'd be first in line to see it.

I believe it's in turn around with David O. Russell and the project's been retitled to I <3 Maccabees
posted by empath at 1:27 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mr E's been known to send intemperate letters before.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:30 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are recordings of his voice - released - calling his ex-girlfriend Oksana, wherein he uses slurs against black people and Mexicans, so there is no doubt about the authenticity of that.

My audio collection is sorted into 14 genres. One of them is Novelties. It includes things like People, Let Me Get This Off My Chest, wrestling promos, and the collected Mel Gibson phone rants. (I used this as the cover art.)

I often listen to the rants at work in the afternoon when things slow down. I find them fascinating as the most unmediated glimpse we'll ever get into the mindest and life of a movie star.

For example: even in these moments of emotional anguish, racked by his conviction (real or imagined) that a woman he devoted himself to, the mother of one his children, has financially exploited him, he spits out as one of his grievances "You gave me bad publicity!" And at one point he hisses, "I'm giving you one... more... chance!" - sounding every bit like Martin Riggs training his Beretta on some cornered villain.

Anyway, I'm very familiar with the content of those recordings. And one thing that stands out from them is her repeated statements that he "needs medication" for whatever "imbalance" is making him do things like punch her in the mouth, breaking her teeth, while she is holding their child - treatment that his psychiatrist isn't suggesting because, like everyone else in Gibson's orbit, he only tells him what he wants to hear. She speaks of the crazy behavior as having gone on for "many months".

Now it's true - as others here have observed - that Gibson has a long documented history as an asshole. But I don't believe he's always been known as the kind of violent lunatic heard in those calls and seen in this letter. It seems quite possible to me that at some point, Gibson became neurologically crazy in a way separate from, but which got layered on top of, the previous assholery. And as the examples of Britney Spears and others demonstrate, their privileges can make it more difficult for rich and famous people to get needed mental health treatment than the rest of us.

My mother had a childhood friend. Mom told that me this friend's mother had gone crazy in late middle age. Mom worried that the friend might inherit that disorder. And sure enough, when the friend reached late middle age, she went crazy. It happens.
posted by Trurl at 1:47 PM on April 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


We're forged by our childhoods. (Especially the first five or so years.) Some people come out of their childhood strong and true, and go on to build wonderful lives upon that sturdy beginning. Others come out of childhood filled with cracks and imperfections, sometimes imperceptibly small, that grow larger under the stress of accumulating years. Despite a life of incredible success, it seems that Mel Gibson has now cracked all the way through. His wealth and power may have accelerated this, as they insulate him from the distraction of daily toil that most people can use to escape themselves.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:04 PM on April 13, 2012


I don't even understand this part - there was offensive language in the apology?

Gibson shouldn't have called Eszterhas "sugar tits," I guess.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:06 PM on April 13, 2012


Think Mel's bad?

Check out his dad.
posted by jamjam at 2:08 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I started reading this I thought it was about Mel Brooks...now that would be an amazing Maccabees movie!

re:Maccabees. My high school word processor could not process the word "Macbeth" and insisted the Scottish play was about Hannukah.
posted by Biblio at 2:41 PM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Having now read the letter in its entirety, I no longer care it if it's true. If details like these are not true, they should be.

I was looking forward, too, to working with the two "biblical advisors" you had picked. But as time passed, I realized that one of the advisors, whom you called "Father Fucko"...

You jumped up, screaming full-throated: "Look at me!! Fucking look at me! Look how terrible I look! Answer me, God! Why did you turn your back on me!? Fuck you! Fuck you!" You stepped a few feet away and screamed into the sky, "I'm not gonna take it up the ass anymore and say, 'Thank you, your honor!'"


Potomac Avenue is right. That's gold.
posted by Trurl at 2:57 PM on April 13, 2012


You had me at the first line: "Personal and Confidential"

Oh. Never mind.
posted by HeyAllie at 2:59 PM on April 13, 2012


You jumped up, screaming full-throated: "Look at me!! Fucking look at me! Look how terrible I look! Answer me, God! Why did you turn your back on me!? Fuck you! Fuck you!" You stepped a few feet away and screamed into the sky, "I'm not gonna take it up the ass anymore and say, 'Thank you, your honor!'"

I believe this is from the Garden of Gethsemane scene in Mamet's original screenplay for The Passion of the Christ.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:00 PM on April 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Biblio: " re:Maccabees. My high school word processor could not process the word "Macbeth" and insisted the Scottish play was about Hannukah."

Is this a challah knife which I see before me?
posted by zarq at 3:00 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yet do I fear thy nature is too full of the milk of human kindness for you to be eating off those fleishig plates?
posted by elizardbits at 4:12 PM on April 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


The fact that Gibson can get a meal at a restaurant

As my dad used to say, "There's a man with an intimate knowledge of what waiters' spit tastes like, whether he's aware of that or not."
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:17 PM on April 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and latkes bubble.
posted by zarq at 4:23 PM on April 13, 2012


So, Gibson and his father are sedevacantists because of the Vatican 2 thing.

So, like, what about the Counter-Reformation, which changed Catholicism to a far greater extent? Doesn't matter, 'cause it didn't happen in their lifetimes?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:39 PM on April 13, 2012


I thought it very much sounded as though it was meant to be read widely, "personal and confidential" notwithstanding.

My favourite parts were the parenthetical comments about the furnishings, "And then you clubbed the maid to death, with that gorgeous reproduction Art Deco lamp stand, in your impeccably decorated master bedroom!"*


*Not an actual quote.
posted by thylacinthine at 5:25 PM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The best part is where Eszterhas was totally cool with working with Mel Gibson until Mel stopped returning his calls. Only then does he go public with all this.
posted by webwench at 7:32 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Look at me! Look how fucking terrible I look! Answer me, God! Why did you turn your back on me!? Fuck you! Fuck you!" You stepped a few feet away and screamed up into the sky: "I'm not gonna take it up the ass anymore and say 'Thank you, Your Honor!'"
Comedy gold.
posted by clarknova at 7:52 PM on April 13, 2012


Part of the problem with untangling what likely happened is that, while Gibson's described behavior is completely in line with his past words and actions, it also sounds like a typical Joe Eszterhas script. Eszterhas is a hack who, in a slightly more sane world, would have seen all of his scripts (at least the ones that I've seen) made into straight-to-video movies, and I have zero problem believing that he turned in a shitty script and that he was perfectly willing to overlook Gibson's craziness until he was fired. These two absolutely do deserve each other.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:12 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the obvious reason nothing happened is that it just wouldn't have been politically feasible. I think he probably does hate the Jews, but I don't think it would have stopped him from making this movie if he could have. If there was a realistic prospect of this happening, Gibson wouldn't have needed to get a washed-up script writer to do the work.

(Also, I like how you can still see the spelling/grammer correction. I guess they must have done this via a bunch of screenshots pasted together in photoshop or something? Pretty hilarious in it's own right.)
Gibson seems like a textbook example of how not dealing with one's own pain -- and clearly, he's got pain he's not dealing with -- can make turn a person into a monster. -- gauche
Maybe he's just an asshole? Everyone has pain in their lives, on at least some level. But there's no reason to assume that just because someone is a dick, it's because they're "not dealing" with "pain." It could actually be the result of actual neurological issues. Or maybe he just feels fine with everyone hating them.
posted by delmoi at 10:45 PM on April 13, 2012


VikingSword: "I have no idea if the letter reflects reality, but no question Gibson is a scumbag. There are recordings of his voice - released - calling his ex-girlfriend Oksana, wherein he uses slurs against black people and Mexicans, so there is no doubt about the authenticity of that.

So, since it's pretty much common knowledge that Gibson is such a person, how is it, that he's not a social pariah? How is it, that whether you're a Jew or not, you associate with this person at all? Now, I'm not a saintly social activist, but I can tell you right now, that money or not, I for one would have nothing to do with this asshole. Why is it, that accountants, business managers, housekeepers and countless others don't say "no thank you, I won't take your money, fuck off"?

There was a story in LA Times sometime after some antisemitic Gibson controversy, wherein a Hollywood producer said that it all comes down to money, and added - only half jokingly - that if it was Hitler himself, but there was money to be made, many would jump at the chance - and he was Jewish! Now, I know for a fact that many in Hollywood refuse to work with Gibson - some have even said so publicly - but let's face it, it really does come down to money.

The fact that Gibson can get a meal at a restaurant instead of being immediately asked to leave, is to me a depressing reality. He deserves to be shunned, except by mental health professionals who can hopefully help, if he wants any such help.
"


People still work with him because there is A LOT of money to be made. While you may claim you would take the high road, no doubt you would work with him at a high enough price. The same as so many others work for people and companies far worse than than Mel Gibson.

Also people still work with him because while he may or may not be a racist (and your so-called "common knowledge" is hardly proof) that doesn't mean that he hasn't and/or can't do a lot of good as well.


Are you really saying that being racist or using racial slurs when drunk or angry means that you are mentally ill and that you should be banned from being in public, from associating with anyone, from being able to go out and public what you say we should do to people who don't like fat people?

If using a racial slur is enough to exile a person, what about someone who uses other slurs? If someone calls someone a fat tub of lard, if someone calls another a moron, if someone calls a person a bitch or an asshole does that make them also mentally ill?
posted by 2manyusernames at 2:14 PM on April 14, 2012


Okay, scratch previous idea. Now I want to see a Mel Gibson biopic in the mood of The Apostle. I mean, here you have an male star on top of the world, who at some point in his life became totally seized with religious mania (possibly exacerbated by booze, drugs, and existing neurological conditions including being a dick). He then becomes one of the most successful independent filmmakers in Hollywood, staging massive spectacles on a scale worthy of Griffith. Then the scandals, the drama, the fall! And in Act Three he's in his own back yard, screaming at God while a sleazy Hollywood screenwriter looks on. This is a great fucking movie!
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:15 PM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Joe Eszterhas to Mel Gibson: ‘Don’t Call Me a Liar, I Have a Tape’
posted by zarq at 1:38 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


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