Mel Gibson apparently went all Apocalypto the other night on a critical college professor after she lobbed a few pointed questions at him regarding his visually compelling yet grotesquely violent Mayan epic.
The Oscar-winning director had dropped by Cal State University Northridge in SoCal's San Fernando Valley Thursday for a meeting of Cinematheque, a movie screening program that also offers discussions and panels with contemporary filmmakers.
While Gibson's last-minute appearance may have been unexpected for some, Alicia Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American Studies, seemed prepared to take him to task for what she perceived to a stereotypical and racist depiction of the Mayas in his 2006 film.
And Gibson, probably not expecting an inquisition into his creative process, reportedly lost his cool, at one point telling Estrada to "f---k off." Then, two people, one of whom may have been Estrada, were booted from the room.
"I demand an apology not only to myself…but to the Mayan community specifically and to this university," Estrada said.
Wishful thinking on her part, perhaps?
Gibson's rep, Alan Nierob, told E! News that the Braveheart star will not be apologizing anytime soon for speaking sharply to Estrada—and why should he?
"Why would he apologize? The event organizers threw the heckler out, not Mel," Nierob said, adding that he stood by an earlier statement he made, as well: "This person was a heckler who was rude and disrupted the event, so much so that the event organizers had to escort her out."
Gibson "did his homework and consulted with world authorities on this matter," Nierob said.
Gibson's beef with Estrada apparently began after the professor started questioning whether he had "done the research" before making Apocalypto.
Lauren Robeson, the editor in chief of the Daily Sundial, CSUN's student newspaper, told E! News that Estrada asked Gibson how much research he had done and named several experts on Mayan culture and asked whether he had read any of their books.
According to Robeson, Gibson said that he was familiar with one of those authors, had visited the ruins, seen the murals and was up-to-date on his Mayan history.
Then, Estrada told him that his portrayal of the Mayas as bloodthirsty fans of human sacrifice was "inaccurate and exaggerated." (Meanwhile, event organizers kept lowering the professor's microphone, apparently hoping to avoid a scene, Robeson said.)
To which Gibson supposedly said, "Oh yes, and you are a f---king troublemaker, so f---k off."
A public relations spokesperson for CSUN explained to E! News that, about 20 minutes into the Q&A session with Gibson, held in the campus' 130-seat Alan and Elaine Armer Theater, two people interrupted the proceedings and took over the microphone.
Event organizers told them to take their seats, which they refused to do, and "Mr. Gibson did use the F-word," said the CSUN spokesperson, who would not confirm the identity of the two people. Then, campus police escorted the offending duo out of the theater and Gibson stayed another 40 minutes.
"Ninety-nine percent of the event went fine," the spokesperson said. The three and a half-hour program also feature a screening of Apocalypto.