Mel Gibson may be known as a nice guy on movie sets, but his reputation as something of a crank and religious bigot is growing.

The actor has shelled out some $25 million to produce a film titled “The Passion” about the death of Jesus.

Critics say it is “anti-Semitic” and portrays Jews as “Christ Killers” guilty of “deicide.”

One Catholic scholar and university professor repudiated the film for depicting Jews “as bloodthirsty” reported the New York Times.

Presently Gibson has no distributor and may be forced to assume that role himself.

In an attempt to build support for what increasingly looks like a financial flop and public relations disaster the Oscar winning director did selected screenings recently for people he apparently thinks are a friendly audience.

Gibson refused to show his film to critics.

Those who caught the film courtesy of Mel ranged from political conservatives like Rush Limbaugh to an assortment of religious right types including members of the controversial Legionaries of Christ.

The President of the National Association of Evangelicals proclaimed Gibson, “The Michelangelo of this generation,” after viewing the movie.

However, The Passion is unlikely to win the actor any new fans or accolades from amongst a wider and unselected audience.

Gibson’s current film crusade seems to be the product of his strange upbringing within a fringe religious movement that calls itself “Catholic traditionalism.”

The church the actor attends near Malibu is called “Holy Family,” but it is actually not part of any diocese and completely outside the Roman Catholic Church.

The star is bankrolling a new 9,300 square foot building for the group, which only has seventy members.

Hollywood types often heap money on controversial groups, some called “cults.” And super-rich Gibson can easily afford to blow millions, even $25 million on his eccentric movie project.

But it appears that this pop icon is becoming tarnished.

Instead of making his mark as “Michaelangelo” it looks like Mel is increasingly becoming known as not only a crank but also a bigot, which just might have a lasting negative effect at the box office beyond his current film crusade.

Postscript: See this follow-up regarding the marketing of “Passion” and its message.


no comment untill now

Sorry, comments closed.