Actor and director Mel Gibson made headlines in 2006 when he made anti-Semitic comments while intoxicated and under arrest, but his quiet actions over the last several years have proven his true beliefs about the Jewish people.
Gibson has reportedly been providing emergency aid such as food, medicine and shelter to Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe through the Survivor Mitzvah Project, according to Extra.
Zane Buzby, founder of the charity, told Extra that the goal of the initiative was to make sure “no Holocaust survivor who has endured the darkest days of human history will ever be hungry again or suffer or be forgotten or neglected,” and that Gibson had played a big role in helping achieve that goal.
In October 2016, Gibson remembered his drunken 2006 anti-Semitic comments that “Jews are responsible for all wars” as “unfortunate,” during an interview with Variety’s “Playback” podcast.
“I don’t understand why after 10 years it’s any kind of issue,” he said. “Surely, if I was really what they say — I was some kind of hater — there’d be evidence of actions somewhere.”
“I’ve never discriminated against anyone or done anything that sort of supports that reputation,” he continued. “And for one episode in the back of a police car, on eight double tequilas, to sort of dictate all the work, life’s work, and beliefs and everything else that I have and maintain for my life is really unfair.”
But despite being attacked as a bigot, Gibson has never bragged about the good work he had been doing to help Jewish people in Europe.
Instead, he helped quietly, showing that his intentions were purely about helping Holocaust survivors and not a publicity stunt to reshape his image.
Buzby explained that the movie director had “educated himself” on the Holocaust, adding, “He’s done philanthropic work now, and I think that actions speak very loudly … and his actions have helped a lot of people.”
Gibson has helped Holocaust survivors in eight countries, something Buzby called “remarkable.”
“Mel feels great compassion for what this organization does,” Buzby said. “And he doesn’t publicly promote most of his philanthropy but quietly helps out.”
While Gibson’s anti-Semitic comments were certainly problematic, he seems to have learned from his mistake and has dedicated much time, effort and money to genuinely helping people who have greatly suffered from anti-Semitism.
Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s not the mistakes that define someone’s character — it’s how they handle those mistakes.