"Mr. Gibson," I said as I shook hands with the dashing, young Lethal Weapon
star with the piercing blue eyes. "I am thrilled
that you've chosen me as your publicist. I swear, your image is in good hands, Mr. Gibson."
"Please, call me Mel. And that's all great to hear, Daniel," Mel Gibson said. "I really enjoy what your public relations firm has done, and I think this will be a wonderful relationship. I hope you're up for the challenge of making me
seem decent to the public."
"All due respect, Mel, but that's no challenge at all. You've got Leading Man written all over you. You're a huge star, you've done brilliant work already and you've got a great career ahead of yourself. You've given me the easiest job in the world. Just don't go saying anything stupid and we won't have a problem, right?"
"Oh, I won't. What am I, Irish
, alright, I'm needed on set now. Talk to you soon!" He flashed a grin and quickly exited. He knew my name was O'Brien, it was clearly a joke. Nothing to be worried about. I had the successful, talented and devilishly charming Mel Gibson as my client. Like he said, this was the start of a wonderful relationship.
I called up Mel as soon as the December issue of El Pais
hit my desk.
Hey, Mel, it's me. Quick question: What, uhâ¦the hell?
Is this about the gay thing?
It is about the gay thing. You were asked what you thought of homosexuals, and that
is what you came up with?
Hey, I was just talking. Just talking, and pointing at my butt a little bit. Is that a crime? Should I pretend I didn't
say those things? Pretend I didn't
point at my butt and talk about poop in an interview? Really, I'm shocked it's even gotten this attention, I was just talking.
Hey, your beliefs are your beliefs, and whether or not I agree with what you think about homosexuality or, in a larger sense, the delicate and beautiful art of anal sex, the fact is, you feel the way you feel. That's you. It's not my place to tell you
what's right. But you've got to know that you're a superstar, Mel. Everything you say will
be held up and judged by the public, that's just the awful way entertainment journalism works. You're the same guy you've always been, but your words carry more weight now, so they'll be held up to more scrutiny, because you
So what do I do?
You're a young enough guy. For now, I'd say just toss it up to youthful ignorance. If you apologize outright, everyone will know
it's a PR move. You were just speaking your mind, shooting from the hip, as it is your right to do. And you don't want to hurt
any gay people, right? You're not trying to get rid of them; it's just not your thing. You were just asked a question and you answered honestly.
Very 'straight-shooter,' I like it, sounds good.
Yes. Stand your ground BUT, be respectful when you do so. Don't just be a bully about your point of view, it's a turn off.
You got it.
Four years after I'd thought we put the whole mess behind us, Mel goes and does a foolish Playboy interview
that sets us back.
Mel? Dan here. How are things?
Couldn't be better.
Just saw the new Playboy
, Mel, and I gotta say this is pretty far from the whole "be respectful" thing we talked about. Remember? When we talked about it?