The persistent chatter that Zach Galifianakis's objection got Mel Gibson booted off The Hangover, brought up again today on the Today Show, has so far ignored one aspect of the story: Galifianakis's work with his girlfriend's organization against domestic violence.
It all started when Galifianakis told an interviewer, "I'm in a deep protest right now with a movie I'm working on, up in arms about something. But I can't get the guys to ... I'm not making any leeway." When Hangover 2 was brought up, he refused to give further details.
This morning on the Today Show, Galifianiakis stopped short of denying the Mel Gibson story but just said, "I do not consult on the movies that I'm in. I just show up and I say my lines, usually terribly...But as far as hiring and firing of actors, I have no insight into that world whatsoever."
But director Todd Phillips' statement saying Gibson would no longer appear in the film said outright, "I thought Mel would have been great in the movie. But I realize filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew."
Although he keeps a low profile about his personal life, Zach Galifianakis is dating Quinn Lundberg (that's them together in the picture up there, on October 28.) Lundberg has a substantial background in public service and founded NGO Growing Voices. Among that NGO's projects is one that is literally close to home for Galifianakis: a project in North Carolina working with survivors of domestic violence.
Galifianakis spends all of his downtime on a farm in the same county, Alleghany County, and has often received reporters there along with Lundberg. Here's the description of Growing Voices' partner organization there:
DANA Services (Domestic Abuse is Not Acceptable), located in Alleghany County, North Carolina struggles to deal with the reality of everyday violent abuse. DANA works to prevent family violence at all stages of life, whether this is the neglect or physical abuse of a child, the abuse of a domestic partner or an elder.
And here's a video of Galifianakis pitching their work in Malawi.
Is it any wonder that Galifianakis wasn't that thrilled about yukking it up with a man currently most famous for his verbal and physical abuse of his partner? It's not that we think people need specific reasons to refuse to work with serial abusers and racists. But if this is indeed the reason motivating Galifianakis and that's indeed why Gibson was booted, we applaud him on his principled consistency.
Growing Voices: Projects [Official Site]
Related: Did Zach Galifianakis Want Mel Gibson's Hangover 2 Cameo Canceled? [People]
Earlier: Mel Gibson's Hangover 2 Cameo Canceled