Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mel Gibson's Horrible PR

Mel Gibson must have the worst PR people on the planet. I'm not kidding. They're horrible and he should fire them immediately. Then again, if he's so clueless that he doesn't understand the logistics of staging somewhat of a comeback after a general dislike amongst the public due to fairly harsh anti-Semitic rants after being arrested for drunk driving, then maybe it's not his PR folks and maybe it's just because he's an a-hole.

Let me just recap a few key moments in the Mel Gibson story before going on to the ridiculousness that is him being unable to grasp that people aren't quite over the whole thing just yet. Here's what happened: Back on Julyl 28, 2006, ol' Mel was arrested for DUI. He wasn't as drunk as you'd think, given his behavior which was seemingly unending swearing and cursing and a string of anti-Semitic statements which, according to TMZ consisted of, among other gems "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?" My favorite part was when he asked a female officer "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?" Priceless.

He did issue a statement afterwards which consisted of, among other apologies, "I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior." He also included that "I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health." Fair enough.
Gibson subsequently did whatever he was supposed to do in the eyes of the court and got his record expunged. That was only four years ago. Who knew that you could get your record expunged so quickly? Not me. I thought that stuff had to be on there for a minimum amount of time that I thought that time would have surely been longer than four years. You have to buy special insurance after you've had a DUI for seven years, but you can make it like it never happened after four? Interesting. Do you still have to buy the insurance? Never mind. I digress.
So, fast forward to present day where the world is waiting upon the release of Gibson's first movie since his drunken anti-Jew tirade in Malibu. Something called Edge of Darkness. Now, when you're making movies that cost a gazillion dollars, that means that you have to have at least a gazillion dollars worth of people watching the damn thing in order to make a profit. Or, at the very least, in order to commandeer the sort of salary that you do in the future. Bottom line: Mel Gibson wants people to see his movie. He also wants them to forget about everything else in the world besides his movie. That would include your life, his life and certainly his past.
Over there at CNN we learn of Gibson being interviewed by a one Dean Richards of Chicago's WGN-TV. Richards asks Gibson if he thinks that the public is ready to accept him back into their movie going lives again. Gibson appears to be perplexed by the question and actually had the audacity to ask him what he is referring to specifically. Oh, come on! Are you serious?! What in the world could he be referring to specifically?! His new cat? I don't think so!

He then gives a response that makes him sound like he just got done filming Point Break or something (it's a surfing movie, just in case you couldn't place the reference there). He says, "That's been almost four years, dude. I've moved on. But I guess you haven't." Did he just call him "dude"? I think he did. That's an odd choice of words for someone who, by my account, should be rather humble. This country isn't all that forgiving of any kind of racism, real or perceived.

Richards then tried to elaborate a bit and get more of an answer out of Mel by asking him if he thought that the public had moved on (just as much as Mel had, apparently). Mel replied with, "Well, I certainly hope so. That was a while back, and I've done all the necessary mea culpas, so ... let's move on, dude." Again with the dude. Interesting. And not the least bit apologetic for his behavior, either. Huh.

But wait! There's more! Richards thanks him for his time. Gibson chugs down the last of his coffee or whatever it was that he was drinking. They both say goodbye. Gibson still has a live mike on him. Richards can still hear him (and so can everyone else). Gibson says clearly and directly, "A**hole." Nice.

You know what, Mel? You don't get to decide when this is over. You don't! The public does. You don't get to decide when people are supposed to stop asking you about this thing. You don't. You don't get to go out there and make a gazillion dollars off of your movies and not think that people might want to know what kind of a person that you are before they watch your movies. Granted, I don't know how many people actually make the determination about what movie they're going to see by their level of like or dislike for the star. And your being so flippant about it shows that you don't give a fat rat's ass about continuing to be apologetic about it. And it's going to make folks question whether or not you really were ever apologetic in the first place.
I'm not saying that someone should have to go through the rest of their life having to apologize for one thing that they might have done in the middle of an extremely drunken stupor. (If that were the case, all I'd be doing is apologizing.) But I am saying that if you're a public figure and your paycheck depends on whether or not the public likes you, I suggest that you make the public like you and if that means apologizing until we're all sick of hearing it, then that's what it means.
Now, if Mel had any decent PR folks, they would have told him to answer those questions with something along the lines of "You know, every time I am asked that question or every time that comes up, I am horrified at my behavior all over again. It haunts me every time I think of it and I'm continuing to work on things every day to make sure that I'm never in such a situation again where I behave in such an atrocious manner ever again." THAT would be good. (I'm for hire, by the way. Inquire within.)

Mel can choose to handle it the way that he is choosing to do so. That's fine. He shouldn't expect a whole hell of a lot of public sympathy if that's the way he's going to go, however. And calling the reporter an a-hole? Well, that's just uncool, dude. But what's even more uncool is not even being able to man up and say that's what you did. Granted, I'm not so sure that, in his situation, that he would be able to admit it, but I'd prefer he stay quiet about it, as opposed to the current lie that he is telling which is that his "a-hole" comment was not directed at Richards, but was rather directed at
"...Gibson's publicist Alan Nierob... who was "pulling faces" (at Gibson) during the interview." Oh, please.

Is that the best you can do? Seriously? And Mel came out and said that? Oh, wait. No, no he didn't. It was his jackass PR guy, that Alan Nierob, who said that on Gibson's behalf. Well. That explains everything, doesn't it? This is not going to get any better for Mel Gibson with ol' Nimrod Nierob at the helm. And I can almost guarantee that any interviews after this point that Mel Gibson does will definitely contain questions about "the incident". Seriously, who wouldn't be interviewing Mel Gibson from this point on and NOT be able to ask him about it just to see what he comes up with? (And for God's sake, those of you who do interview him, make sure that his mike is live for at least a good 30 seconds after the interview is over. I'm pretty sure there's some good stuff to be had there!)
The video of Gibson calling Dean Richards an a-hole is below. Enjoy!

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