CELEBRITY SCALES: Blood and Money, a Mel Gibson Epic
The audio tapes memorializing Mel Gibson’s vile, verbal rampage against his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva continue to fall into our laps like unwelcome tabloid trinkets. Yet another disturbing, Mel “masterpiece” has recently been released to the public. In the new audio tape, a man believed to be the 54-year-old Oscar-winning actor frighteningly admits to hitting and threatening to kill his ex and mother of the couple’s eight-month-old daughter.
Now considered a pariah among the Hollywood elite, Mel Gibson and his epic nastiness first became public fodder with a drunken anti-Semitic tirade in 2006. That initial deep wound to Gibson’s image, which had surprisingly begun to heal, has now reopened and bled into a racist and misogynistic mess for the disturbed star. While Hollywood seems on the verge of finally putting this aging action hero out to pasture, the real question is whether die hard Gibson fans and the general movie going public are ready to do the same. Could Mel Gibson still be bankable at the box office while being morally bankrupt at home?
Just last week, Gibson’s talent agency of 30 years dropped him faster than a piping hot potato and many members of the celluloid inner circle have voiced their intentions to distance themselves from the shattered hothead. While turning Gibson from friend to foe is currently in vogue and seems to be the only face-saving option for Hollywood’s power players, it is also a gut reaction of the purse strings at work here. As Gibson’s legal, personal and seeming mental problems continue to plague him the gold mine that was once synonymous with this actor is now looking a bit played-out and empty.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating possible domestic violence charges against the fallen star and due to the media spotlight on this case, the LAPD will likely press criminal charges. Additionally, Grigorieva recently filed a restraining order against Gibson as the former couple dukes it out in a divisive custody battle for their daughter. Grigorieva claims Gibson punched her in the face multiple times, breaking her teeth. If she is able to produce photographic or dental evidence of the abuse, Gibson could get thrown into the clink. Gibson claims Grigorieva made false claims to the authorities about his alleged abuse and tried to extort him by threatening to leak the explosive recordings to the media. The mudslinging drama between these two is unlikely to end soon and will be a significant distraction to Gibson’s moviemaking pursuits.
Although Gibson is rich and talented enough to finance, produce, direct and if he has enough chutzpah, actually star is his own projects, it is undeniable that this disastrous personal episode has destroyed his once untouchable reputation and international public image. There is no doubt that Gibson’s and Hollywood’s bottom line will be impacted in some way by the mess that this guy has created for himself and those around him. Even if there is no direct dollar and cents correlation between Gibson’s Tiradegate and his future box office receipts, the public will eventually grow tired of fooling themselves to believe that the actor on screen is the hero when they know in their hearts that he is really the coward.
Matt Semino is a New York attorney and legal analyst. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School , Cornell University and is a Fulbright Scholar.
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Contact Matt Semino at Matt@MattSemino.com