Mardi Gras organizers in New Orleans on Sunday reversed their decision to welcome Hollywood actor and director Mel Gibson as a special guest at the parade after criticism, including from local Jewish groups, sparked the announcement.
The Krewe of Endymion, the largest group participating in the February 18 parade, announced on Saturday that Gibson would be a “Co-Grand Marshal,” a title reserved for celebrity guests.
But the announcement drew strong reactions from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council, which in a joint statement cited the “long history” of Gibson’s anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynistic slurs, as well as his “poor efforts to apologize.”
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Following this, the Krewe of Endymion reported on Sunday, less than 24 hours after announcing Gibson’s appointment, that it had “received many reactions to the announcement from our Grand Marshal, [et] that some of these reactions included threats that we consider very concerning”.
The group did not specify the nature of the threats, nor their source.
“In the best interest of the safety of our participants, our special guests and all who greet us on the streets, Mel Gibson will not be participating as co-grand marshal in our 2023 parade,” the statement added.
Gibson did not comment on being sidelined from the New Orleans Parade.
Social media users also expressed surprise at the choice of the Krewe of Endymion, with one tweeting “Mel Gibson? Was David Duke not available? “, in reference to the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Another wrote: “Heard Mel Gibson was Endymion’s back up plan after Andrew Tate couldn’t come.” Tate is a controversial online influencer accused of harboring misogynistic views.
According to Daily Beastthe Krewe of Endymion would have an $8 million budget and deploy 3,200 participants on 80 floats in the annual Mardi Gras parades.
Jewish groups that expressed opposition to Gibson’s nomination welcomed the decision, but said they were “appalled” by his nomination in the first place.
“Given his record of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred, we find his appointment as Grand Marshal of Endymion to be insulting and short-sighted,” a joint statement read.
“While we are relieved that he is no longer in the parade, we hope that the leaders of Endymion will have understood why the choice of Mel Gibson has so pained and disappointed the Jewish community as well as the marginalized communities he has harmed by the past. »
“The fact that Endymion chose a Grand Marshal with a long history of hate sends the wrong message about the event,” she added.
In 2006, Gibson infamously claimed, during a drunken fit, that Jews were responsible for “every war in the world” and conveyed anti-Semitic stereotypes in his hit 2004 film “The Passion of Christ”. He has since tried to get back into the good graces of the Jewish community, even donating to a project to help Holocaust survivors.
In 2020, Winona Ryder claimed that Gibson called her “a survivor of the ovens”. These claims were backed up by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who said Gibson repeatedly called Jews “stove survivors,” “Hebes,” and “Jew boys” in his presence.
In 2010, Gibson’s ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva claimed he had physically abused her and released a recording in which the actor could be heard making sexist and racist remarks, including saying ” if you get raped by a bunch of n****s, it will be your fault”.
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Mel Gibson kicked out of Mardi Gras in New Orleans