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'West Wing' actor Joshua Malina calls for Hollywood to 'take a stand' against 'Jew-hater' Mel Gibson

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read
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  • Mel Gibson
    Mel Gibson
    American actor and filmmaker
  • Joshua Malina
    Joshua Malina
    American actor

The calls to "Cancel Mel Gibson" continue.

Joshua Malina — the actor from West Wing, Sports Night and Scandal — has written an essay with that title and mission for The Atlantic, a reaction to news that Gibson will direct and star in Lethal Weapon 5.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16:  Actor Mel Gibson arrives at the UK Premiere of 'Daddy's Home 2' at Vue West End on November 16, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)
"Gibson is a well-known Jew-hater (anti-Semite is too mild)," Malina writes about Gibson.

"Gibson is a well-known Jew-hater (anti-Semite is too mild)," Malina writes about Gibson. "His prejudices are well documented. So my question is, what does a guy have to do these days to get put on Hollywood’s no-fly list? I’m a character actor. I tend to take the jobs that come my way. But — and this hurts to write — you couldn’t pay me enough to work with Mel Gibson."

Malina acknowledges that Gibson is "a talented man," but "many horrible people produce wonderful art. Put me down as an ardent fan of Roald Dahl, Pablo Picasso, and Edith Wharton; can’t get enough of what they’re selling. But these three had the good taste to die. That makes it a lot easier to enjoy their output. Gibson lives. And Tinseltown need not employ him further."

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19:  Joshua Malina arrives to the Scandal live stage reading of series finale to Benefit The Actors Fund held at El Capitan Theatre on April 19, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Tran/Getty Images)
Joshua Malina in 2018. (Photo: Michael Tran/Getty Images)

Malina said that much is made of so-called "cancel culture," but it "simply does not exist" if Gibson — who has long been at the center of controversy — continues "to find big bucks and approbation in Hollywood." 

Gibson's offenses are detailed in the piece. He's been accused of making racist and homophobic statements. He also pleaded no contest and was convicted of battering his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he had a child, once telling her he hoped she got “raped by a pack of n****ers.” 

Malina made the point, however, that Gibson's anti-Semitism "has been more consistent, more open, and more egregious." For instance, Gibson's 2004 film Passion of the Christ was criticized, including by the Anti-Defamation League, which said it would "fuel the animus of those who hate Jews." In 2006, when Gibson was arrested for drunken driving, he ranted about “the Jews” being responsible for “all the wars in the world" to the Jewish arresting officer. Winona Ryder said they were once speaking and, when Gibson found out she was Jewish, he asked if she was an "oven dodger." (Gibson called Ryder a liar.) Gibson also downplayed the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Malina openly wondered why none of that matters to movie execs, like those at Warner Bros. — or Starz and Lionsgate Television, which are behind the John Wick origin series Gibson will star in. Especially at a time in which Jews are the most targeted religious group for hate crimes in the U.S. — at nearly 60 percent.

"How did this guy become such a hot ticket again?" Malina asked of the man who was blacklisted for a decade before making a comeback with support from A-list stars including Jodie Foster and Robert Downey Jr. "Is it just that memories of his hate speech have faded, while Hollywood’s recollection of his box-office pull remains?"

Malina ended his essay by noting, "I write this knowing that it’s more likely to lead to a boycott by Warner Bros. of Joshua Malina than of Mel Gibson. But if that’s the result, so be it. I’ve had a nice career, baruch Hashem. It would be great if higher-profile executives, producers, and actors would also take a stand. Then I could believe in this cancel culture I keep reading so much about. And I could also believe that Jews do, in fact, count."

A rep for Gibson has not responded to Yahoo Entertainment's request for comment.