LOS ANGELES – When then-unknown beauty queen Carrie Prejean spoke out against same sex marriage at last year’s Miss USA pageant, she was blasted by Hollywood and the liberal media. When Kanye West stole the microphone from Taylor Swift at the VMAs, he was booed out of the entertainment industry for months. When Tiger Woods and Jesse James’ secret string of affairs were suddenly thrust into the spotlight, everyone from George Clooney to Jim Carrey was quick to give their two cents worth.
Yet, when it comes to Mel Gibson, who seems to have offended everyone possible with his racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and outright terrorist rants in the tapes that have been “leaked” to the world over the past week, Hollywood seems to be keeping its usually highly-opinionated mouth closed.
Aside from sports star Andy Roddick, who Tweeted a basic “whoops – Mel Gibson,” few other high profile people have taken to their Twitter accounts, or been daring enough to issue a statement expressing their thoughts on the issue. And according to their reps, Jodie Foster (who is directing and starring in Gibson’s current film “The Beaver,”) is too busy with post-production to comment, and his co-star in the iconic “Lethal Weapon” series, Danny Glover, also declined to comment.
MEL GIBSON'S ALLEGED RANTS
So, why the silence? Where’s the outrage?
“Hollywood is a clannish place and some celebrities no doubt feel they don't want to rush to judgment. Some people may feel that Gibson appears to need help and outrage would be inappropriate, and some people may be motivated by fear that Gibson could potentially turn it all around and they might want to do business with him,” explained Hollywood Reporter’s Editor-At-Large, Kim Masters. “Some may also feel repugnance because private conversations are being exploited in this matter--especially since most people have said things in private that they wouldn't want to be broadcast for the world to hear. And some may be reticent because Gibson's agent of 32 years (Ed Limato) has just died, and has yet to be buried.”
Or perhaps it’s a case that he has crossed the line so prominently that the power players in showbiz simply want to distance themselves as much as possible.
“There are many people who have associated with Mel Gibson over the years and if this is how he really feels about people who are Jewish, people who are black, people who are gay, then why would they want to participate in a story about him? What good is any continual association with him going to do for them? There's no upside for them speaking out,” said crisis management public relations specialist Glenn Selig, founder of The Publicity Agency.
According to another Hollywood image expert, it isn’t that the Tinseltown folk aren’t incensed by the 54-year-old actor’s profanity-laced tirades, but rather that he no longer warrants any attention.
“Mel Gibson is yesterday’s news, I doubt too many people are really surprised by these outbursts given his history. And he is not relevant to young viewers,” Gen Grabowski of Levick Strategic Communications said. “His agency could afford to dump him because he no longer matters – Mel’s situation is far worse than being considered evil, it is that nobody really cares for him anymore.”
And while many are speculating that Gibson’s Hollywood career is dead, some industry professionals believe that he’ll probably still get another chance.
“His career as a filmmaker is probably not over because he has very deep pockets and talent. So he can decide to make a film and doesn't need to ask anyone for permission,” Master said. “At this point, I'm not sure he really wants to be an actor in studio films but if he does--who knows? If he stays out of sight for a long time, does rehab, apologizes . . . I suppose anything is possible, eventually. For now, he needs to issue a statement and then vanish for a while.”
However, Selig believes Gibson’s fate in the entertainment arena isn’t in the hands of studio executives or fellow A-list actors – it is up to us.
“For something this bad, he's going to need some deep soul searching and heavy duty counseling or at least give the impression that that is what is happening,” Selig added. “Ultimately, it will be up to the public that made him a star to decide whether he truly is a changed man and whether they want to accept him and welcome him back into their lives.”