With his new movie The Beaver coming out, Mel Gibson has decided to face the press for the first time since the disturbing audio tapes of his phone calls with Oksana Grigorieva hit the internet last summer. In an interview with "Veteran Hollywood journalist" Allison Hope Weiner posted on Deadline.com, Gibson says he regrets what he said on the tapes, but defends himself too, claiming that the conversations were edited and taken out of context. When asked if he thought the conversations would ever get out, he says, "Who anticipates being recorded? Who anticipates that? Who could anticipate such a personal betrayal?" The interview continues:
WEINER: People didn't understand how you could say the things you did on these tapes. They wondered, what kind of person says those things. Right now, many people think you're a racist and that you hate women from listening to those tapes.
GIBSON: I've never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality — period. I don't blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship. It's one terribly, awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life.
Gibson says he bears no ill will toward Todd Phillips for pulling him from The Hangover II, and adds that he doesn't care if he never works again. He also says he isn't surprised or offended that most of Hollywood didn't defend him, but praises those who did, including Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Foster:
WEINER: What did you think of Whoopi Goldberg going out on a limb and publicly defending you?
GIBSON: I knew Whoopi before she was Whoopi. And, as she's great and I always liked her and loved her. I like her even more now because she got it.
WEINER: She took a lot of flack for defending you.
GIBSON: I know. I love her for it.
When asked about allegations that he hit Grigorieva, Gibson says:
I was allowed to end the case and still maintain my innocence. It's called a West plea and it's not something that prosecutors normally allow. But in my case, the prosecutors and the judge agreed that it was the right thing to do. I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it for my children and my family. This was going to be such a circus. You don't drag other people in your life through this sewer needlessly, so I'll take the hit and move on.
As you'll recall, Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and avoided jail time — purely to protect his family, of course. Do yourself a favor and skip the comments on Deadline. Suffice it to say Gibson is applauded for being a "class act."