This Friday, Paramount Pictures is releasing Daddy’s Home 2, a sequel to the popular 2015 comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg (remember him?). The duo reprise their roles as, respectively, a square stepfather and his rival for the affection of his stepchildren, their too-cool father. The wrinkle this time is the addition of their own fathers: Ferrell’s “daddy” is portrayed by John Lithgow, while Wahlberg’s is played by Mel Gibson. It’s his first major role in a studio picture in quite some time. Why was that again?
- In July of 2006, during an arrest for driving under the influence, Gibson first told the arresting officer, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy James Mee, “You motherfucker. I’m going to fuck you.” He also treated the deputy, who is Jewish, to a barrage of anti-Semitic statements, such as “Fucking Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” When a female sergeant on the scene displayed her understandable shock at Gibson’s statements, the actor snapped, “What do you think you’re lookin’ at, sugar tits?”
- In June of 2010, Gibson’s former girlfriend (and mother to one of his children) Oksana Grigorieva filed a restraining order against the actor, alleging he had abused her earlier that year. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated the charge of domestic violence; Gibson ultimately pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of battery.
- In July 2010, between the beginning of that investigation and the no-contest plea, Radar posted audio recordings made by Ms. Grigorieva. In them, an unhinged Gibson chastises his significant other for dressing provocatively: “You look like a fucking bitch in heat. And if you get raped by a pack of niggers it will be your fault. Alright? Because you provoked it.”
- Also in those tapes, when Grigorieva accuses Gibson of hitting her (and breaking her teeth) while she was holding their child, he responds, “You know what, you fucking deserved it!” He further tells her that she deserves a “bat to the side of the head,” boasts of his desire to plant her “in a … rose garden,” and threatens, “I am going to come and burn the fucking house down … but you will blow me first.”
- In December of that year, Winona Ryder told this story in a GQ interview: “I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk. I was with my friend, who’s gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about ‘oven dodgers,’ but I didn’t get it. I’d never heard that before. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, ‘He’s anti-Semitic and he’s homophobic.’ No one believed me!”
Anyway, Mel Gibson is one of the leads in Paramount’s big holiday family comedy, produced by Adam McKay, one of the industry’s most outspoken progressives. Soooooo… hurray for Hollywood!