Will Hollywood forgive Mel?

Lisa Napoli Jul 31, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL:“Miami Vice” knocked “Pirates of the Caribbean” out of the top slot at the box office this weekend. But this summer Monday, most of Hollywood wasn’t much interested in that. Attention has turned instead to a different kind of vice. The fallout from Mel Gibson’s arrest for drunk driving over the weekend. In case you missed it, the actor and director apologized Saturday for what was widely reported to be an anti-Semitic tirade. The details are online, if you’re interested. But Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli had a look at what it might mean for Mel’s career.

LISA NAPOLI: There are those who say all the remorse in the world won’t save Mel Gibson’s career. Like Jeannette Walls, who covers celebrities for MSNBC.com.

JEANNETTE WALLS: Mel Gibson can make the excuse that he was drunk, but for monsters to come out of the id when he’s drunk, the monsters had to have been there in the first place. He had to have them somewhere in the dark recess of his mind. And I think it’s just going to be very, very difficult for him to ever be forgiven for this.

People from the head of the Anti-Defamation League to super agent Ari Emmanuel called on Hollywood to shun Gibson. John Horn of the L.A. Times says studios may take notice:

JOHN HORN: You’re ABC and you’re sitting on a Holocaust miniseries that Gibson is working on. Or if you’re Disney with Apocalypto, his next movie, and you’re worried about the possibility of boycotts and pickets, then it’s a real issue, because that can really affect a studio’s bottom line.

Controversy has been known to be good for the bottom line too. Concerns over possible anti-Semitic themes in Gibson’s film “Passion of the Christ” left Hollywood skittish. But its $370 million box office gave Gibson incredible financial clout to go along with his star power.

Deadline Hollywood columnist Nikki Finke says the industry is famous for making sure personal beliefs don’t get in the way of the deal:

NIKKI FINKE: I have always made a terrible joke that Hollywood would do business with Hitler if he made money for them.

In Tinseltown, it all goes back to the green.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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