Disney Exec Backs Mel
But will the rest of Hollywood follow along?
Some in Hollywood argue that artists must be forgiven their excesses. Even after Roman Polanski went on the lam after he was charged with drugging and sodomizing a child, many in Hollywood's top ranks were prepared to welcome him back. And these are not simple questions. How many Gauguin canvases would you give up if the artist in exchange didn't abandon his wife and five children and knocked up fewer young girls in the Third World? What if you were responsible for chatting Gauguin up as you financed and promoted his disease-spreading adventures? Once you've got all that figured out, how do you think Mel Gibson stacks up as an artist against Gauguin, and what bargain would you make there?
Back to more tangible concerns. One prominent producer says he already has an idea to help Disney maximize its gains on the upcoming Gibson Apocalypto by launching a new theme-park attraction. "You get in a speeding car," he suggests, "while a hologram of a drunken Mel Gibson follows you shouting 'Fucking Jew!' "
Kim Masters is an NPR correspondent and the author of The Keys to the Kingdom: The Rise of Michael Eisner and the Fall of Everyone Else.
Illustration by Deanna Staffo.