Mel Gibson: I Feel Bad for Michael Richards
"I feel really badly for the guy. He was obviously in a state of stress," Gibson tells Entertainment Weekly for its Dec. 8 issue, referring to the former Seinfeld star's racial outburst. " You don't need to be inebriated to be bent out of shape. But my heart went out to the guy."
As for Richards's critics, "They'll probably torture him for a while and then let him go. I like him," says the 50-year-old Apocalypto filmmaker.
Richards, 57, was captured on a videocam spewing racial epithets after losing his temper during a Nov. 17 appearance onstage at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Los Angeles. He quickly followed up with an apology on David Letterman's Late Show, as well as with meetings with Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, on whose syndicated radio program Richards appeared.
Gibson has had his own problems with charged comments this year, having lashed out with anti-Semitic statements to an arresting officer in Malibu who had stopped him for drunken driving this summer. Gibson later issued a public apology.
As for the career price he might have paid for the incident, Gibson tells EW, according to the Associated Press, that people in Hollywood are not refusing to work with him.
"No, people aren't like that," he says. "Those are just the headlines: 'Mel ostracized by Hollywood! Hollywood is what you make it.' There is no great pooh-bah up there saying, 'Go! You are condemned!'"
Gibson also says he's not anti-Semitic. "I never have been and never would be," he says. "But (the incident) hit this fear thing in me. My god, I made people afraid. ... And it was a horrible feeling. That's when I said, 'My god, I don't want to be that monster.'"