Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mel Gibson Suddenly Wants to Help Holocaust Survivors, and He’s Publicizing It Like a Movie


Mel Gibson knows no shame.

Ten years after his anti-Semitism was revealed in a DUI arrest, he’s still trying to figure out how to undo the massive damage he did to his career.

Let’s not forget that the DUI came AFTER we learned that his father was a Holocaust denier, that he wouldn’t dispute his father’s writings, that Mel funded a church that now has a $70 million value for parishioners who still blame Jews for Jesus’s death. The church more than anything is a reality.

Yet, Mel knows that he must do something to spin his past messages. So now he’s something gotten involved with a group called the Survivor Mitzvah Project. They’re a fine little organization in Los Angeles with a smallish budget run by a woman named Zane Buzby. They give away a little less than $500,000 a year to help Holocaust survivors. On their website, they feature celebrities who’ve helped them or lent their names. Gibson’s is not one of them.

But in the last two days, Gibson’s name has turned up on “Extra” and in People magazine as one of their secret benefactors. It’s a bit of remarkable public relations item planting that should fool no one. But it helped get Buzby’s name in the press– she’s being honored by the Anti Defamation League on March 30th so this has been the hook of her interviews. Buzby worked in TV from the mid 80s to the mid 90s as a sitcom director and writer.

In the decade or more since the reveal of Gibson’s anti-Semitism he’s never once had any association with a Holocaust group. Suddenly he’s “supporting eight Holocaust survivors” around the world. Has he mentioned to them his connection to the denial of the death of 6 million Jews? Has he mentioned his statement to Peggy Noonan that “the Holocaust is a numbers game”? Somehow I doubt it.

Remember: In that decade, as he built up a $70 million in his church’s war chest, he hasn’t given a penny to any Holocaust museum, to the Shoah Project, or to any number of groups associated with Holocaust education.

I’ve emailed Buzby and will report faithfully what she has to say.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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