The head of the Anti-Defamation League said Thursday that if screenwriter Joe Eszterhas' explosive claims of Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic outbursts and violent fantasies were true, "it exposes [Gibson] as a serial bigot and a serial anti-Semite who thought that he could manipulate everybody into believing he changed."
ADL National Director Abraham Foxman also told the industry website TheWrap.com that the film star -- who during a 2006 arrest for drunken driving infamously spewed an anti-Semitic tirade -- "never really came to grips with his bigotry. Most people who are revealed or exposed as anti-Semites, under stress or alcohol, try to engage in some epiphany once they are revealed. Mel Gibson never really confronted his problem."
In a nine-page letter written Monday, which TheWrap posted Wednesday, "Basic Instinct" writer Eszterhas, who scripted Gibson's planned movie about Jewish hero Judah Maccabee, accused the actor and Academy Award-winning director-producer ("Braveheart") of a litany of vile, anti-Jewish comments and explicit threats to kill ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of Gibson's young daughter Lucia. The remarks, Eszterhas said, were made over a two-year period, including during a December stay at Gibson's estate in Costa Rica.
Gibson wrote a five-paragraph response to Eszterhas, which the actor's representative, Alan Nierob, also gave to CNN.
In his statement, Gibson says: "The great majority of the facts as well as the statements and actions attributed to me in your letter are utter fabrications. I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter."
Warner Bros. has put the Maccabee film on hold. A studio spokesman told CNN, "We are analyzing what to do with the project."