US/World News

Hollywood screenwriter backs up Winona Ryder’s claim about Mel Gibson

(JTA) – Los Angeles Magazine unearthed a podcast episode from last year in which a prominent Hollywood screenwriter backs up Winona Ryder’s recent claims about Mel Gibson, namely that he is antisemitic and called the Jewish actress an “oven dodger.” On an episode of the magazine’s “The Originals” podcast, Joe Eszterhas – who wrote the scripts for films like “Basic Instinct” and “Flashdance” – said Gibson repeatedly called Jews “oven dodgers,” “Hebes” and “Jew boys” in his presence. The story began in 2010, when Gibson reached out to Eszterhas, who is not Jewish, about collaborating on a potential movie about the Maccabees. Gibson’s infamous drunken antisemitic rant years earlier damaged his reputation in the industry, and Eszterhas said Gibson was interested in telling “a story of Jewish independence and Jewish strength.”

Joining Gibson at the actor’s Costa Rica estate, Eszterhas said he quickly discovered Gibson’s true motivation. In addition to the antisemitic epithets he used to talk about Jews, Eszterhas claims that Gibson said “What I really want to do with this movie is convert the Jews to Christianity.” Eszterhas wrote Gibson a disgruntled letter after the project fell apart, published in The Wrap in 2012. “I believe you announced the project with great fanfare – ‘a Jewish Braveheart’ – in an attempt to deflect continuing charges of antisemitism which have dogged you,” he wrote.

A representative for Gibson called Ryder’s comments “100% untrue” last week. In the wake of her claims, however, Gibson has been dropped from the cast of the upcoming animated film “Chicken Run 2.”

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