Gibson Faces Up to Movie Controversy
The actor-filmmaker's statement on Friday broke Gibson's silence on his movie "The Passion," which has been the subject of several emotionally charged articles in The New York Times Magazine and elsewhere.
The Times story portrayed Gibson, 47, as a traditionalist Catholic who favors Latin Mass but opposes reforms of the Vatican II Council of the 1960s, which among other things rejected the belief that Jews were to blame for the death of Jesus.
That article immediately sent up a red flag among Jewish leaders. In addition, Catholics have expressed concerns that Gibson might use the film to challenge church teachings.
Until Friday, Gibson had little comment about reports on his religious beliefs or his film.
But as he now has said, "Neither I nor my film are anti-Semitic ... Nor do I hate anybody -- certainly not the Jews. They are my friends and associates. ... Anti-Semitism is not only contrary to my personal beliefs, it is also contrary to the core message of my movie."
He added that the film is "meant to inspire, not offend. ... For those concerned about the content of this film, know that it conforms to the narratives of Christ's passion and death found in the four Gospels of the New Testament."
Gibson's comments were included in a statement announcing that the Roman Catholic Church has agreed to help his production company, Icon, retrieve copies of an early draft of the movie script that Icon says was obtained without permission.
A finger was pointed to a "deep throat" source, working for an ad-hoc group of Catholic and Jewish scholars, who took the script.
"The Passion," co-written and directed by Gibson, was filmed in Italy and contains dialogue only in Latin and Aramaic with no English subtitles.
As yet, the movie does not have a distributor.