Mel Gibson Was Never 'Fired,' Says Hangover 2 Director

Mel Gibson Was Never 'Fired,' Says Hangover 2 Director
Mel Gibson
Dominique Charriau/WireImage

10/27/2010 AT 05:45 PM EDT

Todd Phillips wants to set the record straight once and for all: Mel Gibson's proposed cameo in The Hangover 2 didn't work out – but the actor was never "fired."

"No one was ever fired," the film's director said at the press day for his new movie Due Date. "It's a term that is so obscene to me."

Phillips says the move to replace Gibson with Liam Neeson was business as usual.

"Someone was doing me a favor to come in for a two-minute cameo, and we changed it," Phillips says. "It wasn't like we fired somebody. [Gibson] was just doing a favor from the beginning."

But the back-and-forth certainly caused a stir. Shortly after news of Gibson's cameo as a Bangkok tattoo artist emerged, Phillips announced the appearance was cancelled. Then there was speculation that Hangover star Zach Galifianakis was leading the call for Gibson to be cut from the movie after the comedian gave an interview to a comedy podcast suggesting there were problems on the Hangover 2 set.

Earlier this week, Phillips directed focus away from Galifianakis, saying "a lot of people didn't" like the idea of Gibson's cameo.

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