"The Hangover 2 is a family ... and as much as I loved the idea, a lot of people didn't," Phillips told Entertainment Tonight of his cast and crew. "I didn't want anything to come in between that family."
Shortly after news of Gibson's cameo as a Bangkok tattoo artist emerged, Phillips announced the appearance was canceled – and Liam Neeson quickly replaced Gibson in the role.
There was also speculation that star Zach Galifianakis was leading the call for Gibson's role cancelation after the comedian gave an interview to a comedy podcast suggesting there were problems on the Hangover 2 set.
Phillips, however, was careful to add that he still respects Gibson's talent.
"He's one of our finest actors and, quite honestly, one of our finest directors," Phillips says.