Rothchild, a movie starring The Passion of the Christ director Mel Gibson, has nothing to do with the Jewish Rothschild family, the actor’s representative said in a statement defending the project, amid the fierce backlash that Hollywood’s pick provoked. However, the actor’s fans paid little, if any, attention to the “completely unrelated claims”.
Although Mel Gibson’s new film “Rothchild” hasn’t entered production yet, it has already stirred quite a lot of controversy. On Monday, Variety reported that Gibson will play a key role in Rothchild, a “dark” satirical comedy about an extremely rich New York family.
This instantly rings a bell, given the prominent real-life Rothschild family of Jewish millionaire bankers. However, the ethnicity of the family featured in the film, where Gibson will play family patriarch Whitelaw Rothchild, has not been specified in reports.
This has sparked a backlash, since Gibson is known for having made a number of anti-Semitic slurs in the past, more specifically, during his arrest in California in 2006 on a DUI (aka driving under intoxication) charge, when he notoriously exclaimed that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”.
Although he later apologised for the tirade aimed at a police officer, the aftereffect remained, causing Gibson’s lengthy ostracism by Hollywood. As early as in 2012, he was accused of “hating Jews” by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, which Gibson denied, later bringing up the continuing outburst over the alleged 2006 incident and calling it “unfair” and “a dim thing of the past”.
The escapade, along with reports that he targeted abusive rhetoric at his former partner Oksana Grigorieva, appeared to be wildly recalled on Twitter.
As the debate continued after 2006, many picked up on Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, who was a notorious Holocaust denier, whom Mel portrayed in one of his 2004 interviews as a person “who never lied to him in his life”.
Gibson, having been picked to co-star Shia LaBeouf in Rothchild, couldn’t go unnoticed by the Jewish community, with The Guardian quoting Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg as describing the casting decision as “chilling”.
“Mel Gibson seems like an unrepentant bigot to me & it’s honestly shocking to me that he would be in this movie”, New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum tweeted.
However, netizens seemed to be little impressed by the criticism recalling a thing of the past — especially a personal “drunken breakdown”.
Hordes of Gibson’s fans emphasised what a genius he is while on stage, in front of or behind the cameras:
Others asserted that the casting choice is “no big deal”, pointing to alleged “anti-Semites in Congress”:
One Twitter account even offered a specially made up limerick about the controversy surrounding Gibson:
Memes and jokes also came in torrents, with some Twitterians remarking cheekily that Hollywood’s choice fully dismisses abundant anti-Semite conspiracy theories, like the one that the film and media industry is controlled by the Jews:
Late on Tuesday, Gibson’s publicist Alan Nierob issued a statement to the Daily Beast addressing the ubiquitous accusations and assumptions, stressing that the film has nothing to do with the real Rothschild family of Jewish origin. She drew special attention to the spelling of the family name:
“I feel the need to spare you any embarrassment as I’m told this film is about a fictional family (hence the name ‘Rothchild’) vs the Rothschild family to which you are referring”, Nierob wrote. “Completely unrelated to your premise and angle. Hopefully this is helpful to you”.