LOS ANGELES – Mel Gibson calls his anti-Semitic rant following his arrest for drunk driving in July "the stupid ramblings of a drunkard."
He adds that he plans to continue making movies and working to heal himself and those he offended.
"All you can do is take another step, keep breathing," he says, according to a partial transcript of the interview released by ABC.
Clean shaven and casually dressed in jeans and a blue-checkered shirt, Gibson tells Sawyer he began drinking two months before sheriff's deputies arrested him in Malibu on July 28.
"Years go by, you're fine," he says. "And then all of a sudden in a heartbeat, in an instant, on an impulse, somebody shoves a glass of Mescal in front of your nose and says, 'It's from Oaxaca.' And it's burning its way through your esophagus and you go, 'Oh man, what did I do that for? I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube."'
The interview with Sawyer is the first time Gibson has spoken to the media since sparking a scandal by unleashing what he later called "vitriolic and harmful words" during his arrest. Gibson told the arresting officer: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked him, "Are you a Jew?"
"The last thing I want to be is that kind of monster," he tells Sawyer in the interview.
The 50-year-old actor-director says he knows there are some in Hollywood who will refuse to work with him because of those statements.
"I feel sad because they've obviously been hurt and frightened and offended enough to feel that they have to do that," he says. "Um, and it's their choice. There's nothing I can do about that."
Gibson pleaded no contest to charges of drunken driving on Aug. 17 under a deal in which he will serve three years' probation, pay a fine and attend alcohol rehabilitation classes. He also volunteered to make a public-service announcement about the hazards of drinking and driving.