Winona Ryder is the subject of a new profile in the U.K.’s Sunday Times. In it, she discusses her love for the BBC series Normal People and the joys of working with Keanu Reeves. The part that’s caught the internet’s attention is actually a story she’s told several times before, but sometimes we all need a reminder of how sh*tty Mel Gibson is, especially since Hollywood is pretending he’s a-okay now.
Ryder recently starred in HBO’s adaptation of The Plot Against America, an alternate universe drama wherein the openly anti-Semitic Charles Lindbergh becomes President and leads the nation towards fascism. When asked if she, as a Jewish actress, had experienced anti-Semitism in Hollywood, Ryder responded:
‘I have… in interesting ways. There are times when people have said, ‘Wait, you’re Jewish? But you’re so pretty!
‘There was a movie that I was up for a long time ago, it was a period piece, and the studio head, who was Jewish, said I looked ‘too Jewish’ to be in a blue-blooded family.’
Ryder then reminded everyone of a horrific incident she experienced with Mel Gibson:
We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends, and Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?’ And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’
Ryder has told this story many times before. She recalled the abuse in an interview with GQ in 2010. It’s practically lore in terms of Mel Gibson’s reputation as The Absolute Worst. Remember, this is a guy who spent DECADES being sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and violent towards women, and it was all shrugged off by Hollywood because hey, he makes some OK movies, right?
So, why has this story re-emerged now and why has it so thoroughly caught the attention of social media? It’s not like Gibson’s abuses are new to us. You can go and listen to a recording of him threatening one of his exes by saying he hoped she got ‘raped by a pack of n******’ right now. There may be no man in Hollywood whose endless hatred and lack of accountability has been so well-documented as Gibson’s.
I think we’re back in this cycle because we’re sick of said cycle. We’ve seen how Gibson has been afforded opportunity after opportunity despite showing no signs of remorse or understanding of his evils. We hear time and time again that men like him should be given second chances and that it’s up to the rest of us to forgive. Oh, but he’s so talented, you guys. And he’s learned his lesson in private, apparently. Isn’t that enough?
No. Not even close.
Gibson hasn’t changed and I doubt he ever will, but he’s still here. He’s currently working on a remake of The Wild Bunch, which will reportedly star Michael Fassbender, Jamie Foxx, and Peter Dinklage. He’s still planning his sequel to The Passion of the Christ. He gets applauded at the Cannes Film Festival and lands Oscar nominations and gets to be in on the joke as Ricky Gervais ‘roasts’ him. And we’re f**king sick of it. But what will change? It would be nice if people listened to Winona Ryder now but they didn’t 20 years ago …
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