- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 30, 2006

ADL rejects apology

The arrest of Mel Gibson on drunken driving charges prompted renewed accusations yesterday that the Oscar-winning director and actor harbored anti-Semitic feelings.

Mr. Gibson, whose controversial 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” was a major hit, was arrested early Friday morning for purportedly driving his 2006 Lexus at 87 mph in a 45 mph zone along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the beach town north of Los Angeles.

Celebrity Web site TMZ.com posted portions of what it called the arresting deputy’s original report, which said Mr. Gibson was abusive, shouted anti-Jewish slurs and boasted that he “owned Malibu.”

The TMZ report quoted Mr. Gibson as saying, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” He then asked the deputy, “Are you a Jew?”

Mr. Gibson, 50, issued a statement Saturday in which he apologized for driving while drunk and for his “belligerent behavior” toward the Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs who arrested him.

In his statement the actor said he has “battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse.”

He added: “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.”

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League said yesterday that Mr. Gibson’s response was “unremorseful and insufficient” and that his tirade “finally reveals his true self.”

Many Jews and others were upset that “The Passion of the Christ” revived ancient Christian accusations that Jews bore responsibility for Jesus’ death.

“It’s not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism,” said ADL national director Abraham Foxman.

“We would hope that Hollywood now would realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from this anti-Semite,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that a civilian committee overseeing the sheriff’s department would investigate whether officers tried to cover up Mr. Gibson’s behavior and statements to save the star from embarrassment.

Split turns nasty

The divorce between ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and estranged wife Heather Mills has exploded in acrimony as a large chunk of his huge fortune lies at stake.

In formal divorce proceedings, the 64-year-old Mr. McCartney blamed his wife’s “unreasonable behavior” for the split and said she was “argumentative” and “rude to staff,” the Sun and Daily Mirror newspapers reported in front page stories on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the 38-year-old charity campaigner and former model said Miss Mills would be filing counter-claims both in Britain and the United States, the papers reported.

“Any view she has on her divorce will be handled discreetly. She does not feel the need to repudiate claims that she may be headstrong or feisty,” the spokeswoman told the two newspapers.

The couple announced the end of their four-year marriage two months ago. Lawyers now are negotiating the terms of the divorce.

The ex-Beatle has hired the same lawyer that represented Prince Charles in his divorce from Princess Diana.

Before they wed in 2002, Mr. McCartney reportedly spurned Miss Mills’ offer of a prenuptial agreement to protect his estimated $1.57 billion fortune in case of a split.

Estimates are that Miss Mills could walk away with between $134 million to $373 million from Britain’s richest musician.

Miss Mills, who lost her left leg in a 1993 road accident, met Mr. McCartney at a charity event in 1999, a year after the singer’s wife of 29 years, Linda, died from cancer.

They have a 2-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

• Compiled from wire reports by Kevin Chaffee.

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