Jodie Foster worked with Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson is a friend of Jodie Foster's. And Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster says, is no anti-Semite.
"Absolutely not," Foster said in Friday's Los Angeles Times. "Mel is honest, loyal, kind, but alcoholism has been a lifelong struggle for him and his family."
Foster, who costarred with Gibson in 1994's Maverick, is the highest-profile Hollywood star to publicly vouch for the troubled actor-director who faces charges for a drunken-driving arrest--and scrutiny for an accompanying rant that disparaged Jews and women.
Friday marked the one-week anniversary of Gibson's DUI bust. And with it came questions of if--and when--the law-enforcement audio and video tapes that captured the uncensored Gibson in action will ever be released.
The short answer to both questions, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison, is that the tapes will be made public if Gibson's case goes to trial and prosecutors choose to introduce them as evidence.
The latter is likely if the former comes to pass, Robison said. But the trial won't come to pass if a plea deal is brokered in advance.
Gibson was charged Wednesday with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence. Citing a lack of evidence, prosecutors passed on even more charges, such as resisting arrest and speeding--two allegations made in the arrest report.
Among the evidence prosecutors have at their disposal, Robison said, is an audio tape of the arrest as it happened in the early morning hours of July 28 along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and a video tape of the booking as it happened later that morning at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Malibu/Lost Hills Station.
Keeping the tapes out of the courtroom might be a concern to Team Gibson as reports say the Memorex Gibson is worse, from a profanity perspective, than the transcript Gibson of reputed "f--king Jews" and "sugar tits" remarks.
Times columnist Steve Lopez said Thursday that "sugar tits," a phrase made famous by TMZ.com, which broke the story that Gibson was not on his best behavior during the DUI stop, is not actually part of the official arrest report.
Citing a sheriff's department source, Lopez said Gibson made "two insulting comments" during the booking--"and when I heard what they were, they made the sugar reference seem tame by comparison."
Gibson has publicly apologized for his "out of control" performance, and asked for the opportunity to make peace with "everyone in the Jewish community." Acknowledging an ongoing battle with alcoholism, the 50-year-old Oscar-winner said he is participating in "an ongoing program of recovery."
Producer Dean Devlin, who worked with Gibson on 2000's The Patriot, told Friday's Times he doesn't excuse the star's DUI-night tirade, but believes "it was the disease speaking, not the man."
"The day this happened, my wife had gotten this long letter from Mel full of congratulations [on the birth of their first child]," Devlin said in the newspaper. "She's Jewish. I'm Jewish. If Mel is an anti-Semite, then he spends a lot of time with us, which makes no sense."
Foster cited Christian Slater and Robert Downey Jr. as examples of nice guys who have found trouble when addiction enters the picture.
"I do not have personal experience with addiction," Foster said, "but I have seen it take many paths in people I know."
The Times said Gibson had not recently appeared troubled. The latest National Enquirer begged to differ, saying the arrest was "the shocking climax of a self-destructive binge" that began on the Mexican set of his Mayan action movie, Apocalypto.
Elsewhere, ABC was said to be going ahead with Gibson's planned Holocaust miniseries--minus Gibson.
Earlier this week, the network said it had decided to "no longer pursue this project with Icon," the star's production company. On Friday, a TV Guide report said ABC was amenable to telling the fact-based story with other, presumably less controversial, producers.