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Gibson apologizes to Jewish community; experts say 'too late'

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday August 1, 2006

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The apologies from Mel Gibson did not come fast enough for many crisis management specialists and other experts, RAW STORY has learned.

Gibson waited four days after his arrest before specifically apologizing for his reported anti-Semitic tirade.

"I'm not just asking for forgiveness," Gibson said in a statement released today. "I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing."

Too late, says Richard Levick, head of a strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C. "In the first 24 hours, people start forming opinions. He has constantly been behind the story and needs to get out front.

"What he's done through actions is turned perception into reality," said Levick. "People presume he is anti-Semitic."

Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman acknowledged Gibson's apology, but urged that it wasn't enough. "[His] apology is unremorseful and insufficient. It's not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism."

Hollywood executives had differing reactions, one noting anonymously to the Associated Press that "there's a history of forgiveness of people who have had drug and alcohol problems." Another anonymous exec simply said, "Too little, too late."

Michael Sands of consulting firm Media Image also felt Gibson had dawdled too long. "It seems to me he sat around with his publicist and said, 'Hey, what do you think of this?"

While many see Gibson's Hollywood clout possibly at an end, with ABC even cancelling a planned miniseries on the Holocaust that Gibson was to produce, Rabbi Daniel Lapin of conservative Judeo-Christian values organization Toward Tradition felt that hope remained for the seemingly contrite 'Braveheart' director.

"Why would any rampant bigot even bother to [apologize]?" asked Lapin.

Full text of Gibson's apology:

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There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.

I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.

The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God's child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.

I'm not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.

I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realizing is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.

This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. Its about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad.

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