It’s nice to know, in these divisive times, that a shitty white man has the courage to stand up for a shitty black man despite the fact that the white man once suggested it would be his ex-girlfriend’s fault if she was—and I quote—“raped by a pack of niggers.” That’s a bromance for ya!
Because Hollywood has the memory of a goldfish with dementia and the greediness of a Donald Trump Ebenezer Scrooge lovechild, it seems we’re through with shunning Mel Gibson again—yes, that’s “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” Mel Gibson—as he was featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s 2016 director roundtable. He was joined by five other of the year’s most celebrated directors—none of whom have ever been charged with battery against a woman.
Gibson directed Andrew Garfield’s best swing at an Oscar, Hacksaw Ridge, a film about war and men and the Bible and who cares.
On the hunt for a quote to drive magazine sales, The Hollywood Reporter asked the panel about Nate Parker and whether it was fair that the outside controversy hurt Birth of a Nation. (Parker consulted with Gibson on the film, in case you need another explanation as to how things went so incredibly astray.) To be clear, the only correct answer answer here is: Yeah. Tough, Nate.
Gibson, as you might have guessed, didn’t say that.
I don’t think it’s fair. He was cleared of all that stuff [a rape trial in which Parker was found not guilty]. And it was years ago. You have to follow the system there. I think he’s innocent of all that stuff. The fact that he has to live with that stigma, and that it affects the art he does, is unfair.
You hear that? It was years ago, “sugar tits”! What’s a little very serious rape allegation that ultimately led to the suicide of a woman if it was years ago?
As he has even said himself, Parker has to live with the consequences of his actions, which includes attention being paid to things he’s done that he wishes people didn’t pay attention to. Though what bothers him the most, I’m guessing, is being known as the guy who, after all that, didn’t even make a very good movie.
Is it really surprising that Mel gay people “can fuck off” Gibson wants the personal separated from the artistic? It is not.
Queen of Katwe director—and the only woman on the panel—Mira Nair also responded to the question with, if you can believe it, a bit more tact.
I think yes, the art should be separated. But in this case, it was ironic that at the heart of Birth of a Nation was the nature of what he was linked with [a rape of the lead character’s wife]. That was, I think, what created ambiguity and confusion in the eyes of the audience.
Still not the exact answer I was looking for, but at least Nair seems to understand the many moving parts of the storm.
Denzel Washington and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins participated in the roundtable as well, but either wisely kept their mouths shut for this particular question, seeing it for the trap that it is, or, also wisely, didn’t saying anything notably dumb. Because really, who didn’t know Mel Gibson would have that covered?