Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson at the Daddy's Home 2 premiere in London (Photo: Rex Features)

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Mel Gibson’s solidarity with sexual assault victims is hypocritical and unwanted

The star is a serial offender when it comes to accusations of bigotry, misogyny and abuse – and his latest comments can’t erase that

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By Kuba Shand-Baptiste on

It’s always baffling when powerful men – hot on the heels of scandals not too dissimilar to acts they’ve committed in the past – feel it’s acceptable to present themselves as authorities on changing a culture that they have played a part in feeding.

Woody “witch hunt atmosphere” Allen, Donald “I’m very happy a lot of these things are coming out” Trump and now Mel Gibson, who, while promoting his latest film, Daddy’s Home 2, didn’t seem to see the hypocrisy of wading into a conversation about the historic mistreatment of women in Hollywood, despite having a reputation for being abusive towards them.

When asked by The Guardian about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault saga, Gibson said: “There is a lot of light being thrown into places where there were shadows and that is kind of healthy. It’s painful, but I think pain is a precursor to change.”

Gibson’s intentions for partaking in the global discussion around sexual assault are probably not rooted in a new-found desire to help the cause

In isolation, there’s nothing wrong with his statement. Had it come from someone who truly understood the severity of the onslaught of abuse (physical, sexual and verbal) that most women encounter at some stage in their lives, there would be very little wrong in pointing out the painful yet necessary reality of dark truths – like the ones we’ve seen for weeks on end – coming to light.

But it didn’t come from someone like that. It came straight from the lips of a man who was alleged to have left a message on his ex-partner Oksana Grigorieva’s voicemail, saying that if she were to “get raped by a pack of n*****s”, it would be her fault. And lest we forget, this statement of performative solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment also comes from someone who last year revealed that he doesn’t believe, despite being caught launching into an anti-Semitic rant in 2006, that he has ever “discriminated against anyone”.

Which is why Gibson’s intentions for partaking in the global discussion around sexual assault are probably not rooted in a new-found desire to help the cause. No one with a reputation like Gibson’s and a movie to promote just happens to take their nice guy persona out for a spin just because. But that’s what makes it so sinister. His actions are evidence of something abuse and sexual assault victims know all too well: that as long as powerful men like him say the right thing in public, they stand a chance of being forgiven of anything.

@kubared

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Mel Gibson at the Daddy's Home 2 premiere in London (Photo: Rex Features)
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Sexual assault
Racism
harvey weinstein

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