The Krewe of Endymion, organizers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras, on Sunday rescinded its invitation to actor-director Mel Gibson to take the prestigious post of co-Grand Marshal of its 2023 Mardi Gras parade – only 16 hours after crowning him.
Endymion president Dan Kelly issued a statement saying: “The Krewe of Endymion has received significant feedback about our grand marshal announcement. Some of this commentary included threats that cause us great concern. In the best interest of the safety of our riders, special guests, and everyone that welcomes us on the streets, Mel Gibson will not ride as a co-Grand Marshal for our 2023 parade.”
American film star Mel Gibson (did you think he was Australian? I did too, so I looked it up – he was Born in Peekskill, New York, and moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia, when he was 12 – DI) is best known for his roles in Braveheart, Mad Max, and Lethal Weapon.
He is also best known for a shameful episode on July 28, 2006, when Gibson was arrested by a Sheriff’s Deputy in Los Angeles County for driving under the influence while speeding in his vehicle next to an open container of alcohol. According to Vanity Fair, Gibson first told the arresting officer, “My life is over. I’m [expletive]. Robyn’s going to leave me.” But later, Gibson exploded into a raging tirade it appeared he was attempting to commit suicide by cop. Gibson said to the arresting officer, “[Expletive] Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?”
The attempted suicide by cop ended up as a career suicide by media.
The response to the announcement about Gibson’s becoming the parade grand marshal was saturated with many angry response tweets, many of which asked if KKK Grand Wizard David Duke wasn’t available.
Local Jewish leaders were outraged more than anyone else, and the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, and the Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council issued a joined statement saying they were “appalled that Endymion chose Mel Gibson as the parade’s 2023 Grand Marshal to begin with.”
The groups continued: “Mel Gibson has a long history of making antisemitic, racist, and misogynistic slurs. While the actor has made half-hearted attempts to apologize for his remarks over the years, there is still a great deal of pain associated with his name and deep wounds in the Jewish community from those controversies, which may never heal. Given his history of fueling antisemitism and other forms of hate, we find his choice as Grand Marshal of Endymion was completely insulting and shortsighted.
“Although we are relieved he is no longer riding, we hope the Endymion leadership will take the opportunity to learn why the selection of Mel Gibson caused such pain and disappointment to the Jewish community, as well as the marginalized communities he has harmed in the past,” the three Jewish groups said.
Should Jews even attend the Mardi Gras? I understand there are many things there from which a faithful Jew must avert his eyes – and not just Mel Gibson.