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Mel Gibson Admits to Making Anti-Semitic Remarks, Asks for Help

Mel Gibson has admitted to making anti-Semitic remarks during his drunken driving arrest and has asked members of the Jewish community to help him recover from his alcohol addiction.

"I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge," the actor-director says in a statement issued Tuesday through his publicist.

Gibson, 50, also says: "Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith."

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Gibson says he is "in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display" and hopes members of the Jewish community, "whom I have personally offended," will help him in his recovery efforts.

"I'm not just asking for forgiveness," Gibson says. "I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing."

He adds, "There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark."

Gibson acknowledges, "there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed."

He says he must take responsibility for making anti-Semitic remarks because as a public person, "when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena."

The Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday that it has accepted Gibson's second apology, saying it "sounds sincere."

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said this is the apology the group had hoped for the first time. He added that once Gibson finishes "his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse," the ADL will "help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice."

Rabbi Mark S. Diamond of the 280-member Board of Rabbis of Southern California was only partially swayed by Gibson's latest statement.

"I welcome his words. And I hope and pray that they are sincere and heartfelt," but Gibson needs to show "tangible actions" of repentance, he said.

"I don't want to minimize for a moment the hurt and anger, the anguish, his words have created in our community," he added.

Gibson's Arrest Investigated

Gibson was pulled over, initially for speeding, early Friday along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. He was then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, and released several hours later after posting $5,000 bail.

In an investigative development, the attorney in charge of a civilian panel responsible for oversight of allegations of wrongdoing by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said a preliminary review found nothing wrong with the handling of Gibson's arrest.

"In this case the information reviewed to date indicates that LASD did ensure that the arrest of Mr. Gibson was handled in accord with its policies and practices," said Michael Gennaco, head of the county Office of Independent Review.

Besides the procedures of stopping, testing, arresting and taking Gibson to a sheriff's station, "most importantly, all information that should have been presented to the D.A. regarding this arrest and the underlying and surrounding circumstances was presented to the district attorney," Gennaco said.

He said an investigation was continuing into whether the disclosure and documentation of information about the arrest was consistent with policies.

The entertainment Web site TMZ.com had reported that the sheriff's department was considering eliminating the anti-Semitic remarks from its official report.

TMZ reported that Gibson said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the arresting officer, "Are you a Jew?"

TMZ also published what it reported were four pages of the original report.

The department's initial account of Gibson's arrest made no mention of any anti-Semitic remarks and said the arrest occurred without incident, leading to allegations that the initial report had been "sanitized" and there was an effort to cover up the seriousness of what had happened.

Gibson initially issued a public apology for his conduct without specifying what he said or did.

Sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore insisted Monday there had been no cover-up and defended the department's handling of the case.

"We hope we've done it with not only professionalism and intelligence, but held to the highest standard of legal and moral imperative," Whitmore said.

Questions were raised about whether police were covering up Gibson's remarks partly because the actor has a relationship with Sheriff Lee Baca.

He has dressed in a sheriff's uniform to film public service announcements for Baca's Star Organization, a charity group that raises scholarships for children of department employees. Gibson also donated $10,000, said Whitmore.

A tentative arraignment date was set for Sept. 28. The department was "convinced because of our investigation and because of his own self-illuminating statement that he will be convicted of driving under the influence," Whitmore said.

Hollywood Consequences

It was not the first time Gibson has faced accusations of anti-Semitism.

He produced, directed and financed "The Passion of the Christ," which some Jewish leaders said cast Jews as the killers of Jesus.

Days before "Passion" was released, Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson, was quoted as saying the Holocaust was mostly "fiction."

Gibson notes that his apology and efforts to repair relations with the Jewish community "is not about a film."

"This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have," he says.

To some people, however, it is about movies.

"I don't think I want to see any more Mel Gibson movies," Barbara Walters said Monday on the ABC talk show "The View."

ABC is owned by Disney, which is in the early stages of planning the marketing for Gibson's next film, "Apocalypto."

The movie was supposed to be released next week, but was pushed back after inclement weather in Mexico pushed back its schedule. The movie is expected to be released Dec. 8.

ABC also canceled a planned miniseries about the Holocaust that it was developing with Gibson's Icon Productions.

ABC, in announcing the cancellation of the project, said in a short statement that since "it has been nearly two years and we have yet to see the first draft of a script, we have decided to no longer pursue this project with Icon."

Network spokesman Kevin Brockman declined to comment on whether the decision was motivated by Gibson's arrest and subsequent comments.

Arresting Officer: I Don't Want to Ruin His Career

Meanwhile, the deputy who arrested Gibson said Monday that he feels badly for damage to the star's reputation, but hopes Gibson thinks twice before drinking and getting behind the wheel.

James Mee, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, told The Associated Press that he considered it a routine arrest and didn't take seriously any comments that Gibson made.

"I don't take pride in hurting Mr. Gibson," said Mee, a 17-year deputy who is Jewish. "What I had hoped out of this is that he would think twice before he gets behind the wheel of a car and was drinking. ... I don't want to ruin his career. I don't want to defame him in any way or hurt him."

Sheriff's Department officials sent prosecutors their case, which also says a tequila bottle was found in Gibson's car when he was pulled over.

In the interview outside his home, Mee, who is Jewish, would not comment specifically on what Gibson said.

"That stuff is booze talking," the deputy said.

Gibson has a history of problems with alcohol. He was arrested for investigation of drunken driving in Canada in 1984 after he was involved in a minor accident.

His publicist, Alan Nierob, told The Associated Press on Monday the actor-director was involved in a program to deal with his drinking.

"The guy is trying to stay alive," Nierob said.

Gibson won a best-director Oscar for 1995's "Braveheart," and starred in the "Lethal Weapon" and "Mad Max" films, among others.

In recent years, he has turned his attention to producing films and TV shows through his Icon Productions.

The hundreds of millions of dollars he made from "The Passion" has given the star the ability to finance his own films, giving him a measure of independence from major studios.

His last major starring role was in the 2002 film "Signs." He played a supporting part in the 2003 film, "The Singing Detective," which he also produced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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