Hollywood’s Cancel Culture Double Standard
Mel Gibson got “canceled” before the term was in vogue, and many would argue it was the right call. The “Lethal Weapon” star’s anti-Semitic rant following a police stop on drunk driving suspicions in 2006, plus physical threats made to his then-girlfriend, depicted an out of control superstar.
Some even saw his 2004 blockbuster, “The Passion of the Christ,” as anti-Semitism on the silver screen.
Gibson went away for a while following the disastrous police stop. He didn’t appear on screen again until 2010. He remained radioactive, though, toiling in smaller films like “Get the Gringo” (2012) and “Blood Father” (2016) until the industry saw fit to employ him as a director once more.
His 2016 film “Hacksaw Ridge” earned him a Best Director Oscar nomination and unofficial re-entry into Hollywood. He’s currently tied to a number of projects, including a remake of “The Wild Bunch.”
Now, some members of the press want to rescind Gibson’s creative rebirth. Both Variety and Refinery29, a social justice-themed news site, wonders why Hollywood isn’t canceling Gibson anew. The trigger, they say, is an accusation from Winona Ryder that Gibson called her an “oven dodger” in the mid-90s. Ryder is Jewish. Gibson strenuously denies the accusation.
Gibson’s past is so ugly, so hard to process, that an argument could be made for him staying away from any Hollywood set. Yet why are other stars, whose anti-Semitism is both more recent and raw, getting a patented Cancel Culture pass at a time when a single Tweet can cancel a career?
Musicians Ice Cube and P Diddy recently embraced unrepentant anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan without a hint of cancellation. Here’s just one Ice Cube Tweet tied to the notorious hater:
The Honorable Louis Farrakhan continues to warn America to this very second and he’s labeled one of your “evil names” and you turn your ears off. Why is the truth so offensive that you can’t stand to hear it?
When CNN’s Jake Tapper chided Fox Soul TV for planning to air a Farrakhan speech (the plans were later canceled) the rapper/actor shot back, “Watch your mouth, Jake.”
Music mogul P Diddy shared a Farrakhan screed on social media just days ago.
Combs invited his followers to watch Farrakhan’s almost three-hour rant titled “The Criterion,” which also streamed live on YouTube and has already garnered over 600,000 views. In his speech, Farrakhan, 87, called the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, and Jewish people “satan.” He said, “Mr. Greenblatt, you are Satan. Those of you that say that you’re Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You are not a Jew… you are Satan and it is my job now to pull the cover off of Satan so that every Muslim when he sees Satan, pick up a stone, as we do in Mecca.”
The musicians aren’t alone in praising Farrakhan.
Chelsea Handler recently shared a 1990 clip from Farrakhan’s appearance on “The Phil Donahue Show” addressing racism. Handler personally cheered the clip, sniped at those who criticized her support for a bigot and, finally, apologized for the whole mess after her followers schooled her on the real Louis Farrakhan.
Other stars directly or indirectly cheered on Handlers’ post before her retraction, including Jennifer Aniston, Sean Hayes, Jessica Chastain and Jameela Jamil.
The latter, a “Good Place” alum, initially wrote, “Someone please tell me the name of this extraordinary man who so perfectly sums up white fear in under a minute,” before deleting the comment, according to The New York Post.
None of these stars have been canceled. Only Handler apologized for her comments. As for media coverage, The liberal Daily Beast offered a comprehensive look at Handler’s messaging.
Most news outlets ignored Handler, P Diddy and Ice Cube, though.
Gibson’s story remains complicated, and it’s easy to see both sides of the subject. Gibson has been a model citizen on movie sets for some time, and he says he’s embraced Alcoholics Anonymous to deal with a drinking issue that started as a teen.
His past remains problematic in the most honest sense of the word.
We can choose to forgive his serial sins, but it remains to be seen why the media and Cancel Culture both look away at other anti-Semitism in La La Land.