Mel Gibson came to Nate Parker’s defense, which clearly changes everything
For some strange reason, people still pay attention to Mel Gibson. His anti-semitism, homophobia and racism has failed to get him the boot in Hollywood, so we’re forced to listen to him talk through award season as he promotes Hacksaw Ridge, the Andrew Garfield film Gibson directed. During The Hollywood Reporter’s 2016 director’s roundtable, the panelists were asked whether the controversy surrounding Nate Parker was fair, considering it ultimately affected Birth of a Nation. Gibson defended Parker, his cape flapping in the wind.
That’s right. The same Gibson who once raged at an ex-girlfriend that it’d be her fault if she was “raped by a pack of niggers.” How noble for an insufferable white man to defend an insufferable black man. A homophobic bigot makes friends with an accused rapist. How grand! According to IndieWire, Parker consulted with Gibson on the film, so it makes since that Gibson would ride or die for his pal who he must not consider one of those “pack of niggers.”
Instead of smartly steering clear from the question like his fellow panelists Denzel Washington and Moonlight filmmaker Berry Jenkins, Gibson offered up a hot take befitting of a man who once said, “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson said:
“I don’t think it’s fair. He was cleared of all that stuff [a rape trial in which Parker was found not guilty]. And it was years ago. You have to follow the system there. I think he’s innocent of all that stuff. The fact that he has to live with that stigma, and that it affects the art he does, is unfair.”
Poor Nate. How unfair it must be to have Fox Searchlight purchase your film for $17.5 million, then have to answer for the 1999 rape case that resulted in the victim committing suicide years later. It was years ago so… no worries! Water under the bridge.
When Gibson speaks up in your defense, it’s time to reevaluate your life. He’s not really the guy you want making a case for you. This is, after all, the guy who said gays “can fuck off.”
Gibson isn’t alone in his feelings of unfairness. Actor Colman Domingo (who played Hark in the historically inaccurate portrayal of Nat Turner) also wishes the art was separated from the artist. In a New York Times piece, the actor laments about Aja Naomi King’s performance being overshadowed by the controversy. Domingo said:
“You walk into these rooms, and it’s almost like a bittersweet look people give you in their eyes. I look at the work of my peers on the film, and I wish it was being celebrated. The cinematography, the music. Aja Naomi King’s is one of the best performances of this year. But we’re under the veil of the whole controversy, and people almost don’t want to touch it.”
Domingo continues with some rather troubling thoughts that the media attempted to take down this film by any means necessary, and that he feels Parker handled the firestorm the “best way he can.” Look, it’s unfortunate that black actors — whom seldom get quality roles already — were casualties of Parker’s rape case and how he mishandled the aftermath at every turn. But Parker is not the hill to die on. And the audacity of Mel Gibson to have an opinion at all is quite laughable. If The Hollywood Reporter was looking for a stupid hot take that’d make headlines, they knew Gibson was their man.