Mad Mel: Racist Tirades, Spousal Abuse, and the Media’s Double Standards


Its seems that we—as a cultural collective—should be a bit more angry at Mr. Mel Gibson.  The press was uniformly squared against Chris Brown for beating Rihanna.  Yet, the same media is largely neutral in reporting the recent news surrounding Gibson.  Where is Oprah on this one?  Nothing to say about Mel allegedly breaking a women’s teeth out of her head?

For those living under a rock, RadarOnline—a web gossip rag— has  released a series of vile audio tapes, allegedly starring Mel Gibson spewing  heinous, misogynistic, racist, and generally  hate-filled vitriol at his ex-girlfriend and child’s mother Oksana Grigorieva . 

 If we take the position that this is in fact Mel Gibson, which we do at The Kabosh, after listening to the tapes one can only come to a singular conclusion: the man has simply come unglued.   I supposed we can give Mr. Gibson some credit for being an equal opportunity offender.  In his most recent series of  rants, he manages to insult Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, and women, which I suppose is the big bigot cocktail for Mr. Braveheart.

Gibson has been largely irrelevant in Hollywood since a 2006 DUI arrest in which tape of him  mounting  an antisemitic tirade against an officer  was made public.  Nevertheless, many blogs are already asking , if he can  regain his career after this melodrama plays out.   Other blogs are suggesting that the recent tapes are without context and thus are unwilling to unfairly judge, decry, or condemn Mr. Gibson.   And still  other sites suggests he is mentally ill or an alcoholic or some combination of the two, and therefore needs help to deal with his particular for of mania.  

While the media is dealing with this story well, giving it the coverage and spectacle such a sensational story warrants, there something very measured in their calculus of trying to portray Gibson as a troubled and washed-up star, who perhaps may even deserve our sympathy for his mental debilitations.  We have this gem from, Whoopi Goldberg:

I know Mel, and I know he’s not a racist,” Whoopi on ‘The View’ on Monday, seeming both earnest and cautious to weigh in. “I have had a long friendship with Mel. You can say he’s being a bonehead, but I can’t sit and say that he’s a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids. I don’t like what he’s done, make no mistake.”

Okay Whoop, what to you constitutes a racist?  Suggesting to his girlfriend that she would be raped by a gang of the “n-words”  given her selected attire, suggests to me…I don’t know, at least some notion of  bigotry in this man’s make-up.   Similarly, his remarks against Jews and now Hispanics show a similar disdain for minority communities.   Just because he may break bread with you Ms. Goldberg does not mean he is not a man with some deep-seeded issues around race and ethnicity. 

It’s strange to me that  the media was much less forgiving or open-minded just a year ago when photos of a battered and bruised young pop-princess emerged, the injuries inflicted during an altercation with herthen R&B crooner boyfriend.  By no means and I suggesting Chris Brown did not deserve to be taken to tasks for his actions, but I find that he was not given the benefit of the doubt in the same way Mel Gibson is.  Folks were not stating anything about context, they wanted Brown’s head on a platter.

The extent to which this different media treatment has to do with race is questionable.  I think photos of Rihanna’s swollen face heightened the level of spectacle and resulting public outcry, as compared to the audio tapes serving as evidence in the Gibson case.  A visual artifact of the abuse would likely tip the scale less favorably  in the media coverage.

Charlie Sheen, Robert Downy, Jr., Roman Polanski have all been smeared by controversy for irresponsible if not dreadful acts over the years, and they emerge unscathed and redeemed under the glitz of the Hollywood lights.  This time around Hollywood, the press and the public should uniformerly condemn what Gibson’s behavior.  He has shown a disdain and disrespect for women that can be called nothing less than misogyny.  His actions are deplorable and should be regarded as such.

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1 Comment

  1. I think she is setting him, because the photos she’s releasing does not support her claims, but you’re about Chris Brown. This young man never had any bad press before the incident with Rihanna. No one accused him of being violent, no accused him of disrespecting anyone, but as soon the Rihanna thing happened, he’s a woman beater, he’s evil, he’s this, he’s that. They reworte his short history overnight. Countless men and women in Hollywood have abused their mates, and people know about it, but they do not care. Charlie Sheen can beat countless women, and no cares. There was proof he beat up Brittney Ashland, and he was changed. I’m pretty sure Pig O won’t turn the interview with Mel to give his side of the story, but she turned down Chris’ request for one. Go Figure.


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