Reacting to the recent news that Mel Gibson had been tapped by Warner Bros. to direct a fifth installment in the popular “Lethal Weapon” franchise, Malina couldn’t help but note that Gibson is seemingly getting a second phase of his career after doing things in the past that would have completely blacklisted others.
Variety reported that Gibson let the news slip at an event in London last month. He will direct the film with the original director and producer Richard Donner’s wife, Lauren Schuler Donner. However, Gibson has been criticized in the past for anti-Semitic remarks, racism, domestic abuse and more, all of which Malina believes is being swept under the rug in favor of the actor’s box office appeal.
“If Gibson is welcomed back to direct the latest installment of this beloved franchise, it may be time to stop publishing think pieces about the power of ‘cancel culture,’” he wrote in an op-ed for The Atlantic. “Because if he can continue to find big bucks and approbation in Hollywood, cancel culture simply does not exist.”
The character actor cited what he sees as unacceptable examples of Gibson’s behavior, rehashing the actor’s 2006 detention by a police officer for alleged drunk driving that led to an anti-Semitic rant directed at the officer, who was Jewish. He also noted the infamous 2010 voicemails in which Gibson could be heard using racist and misogynistic language directed at then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and his “no contest” plea to charges of domestic battery against her the following year. Malina even noted how Gibson was spotted saluting former President Trump at a UFC event this summer.
“This might feel like a smaller matter if it didn’t come at a moment when members of my tribe feel the walls closing in again. Jews were the victims in more than 50 percent of religious-based hate crimes last year,” Malina wrote. “In recent years, we’ve witnessed the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, the murder at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California, Jewish students harassed on college campuses, European anti-Semitism on the rise—these are the headlines that make us feel unsafe. Is this really the time to glorify a man like Mel Gibson?”
Elsewhere in his piece, the actor writes: “How did this guy become such a hot ticket again? Is it just that memories of his hate speech have faded, while Hollywood’s recollection of his box-office pull remains?”
Malina goes on to criticize Warner Bros., the studio behind the “Lethal Weapon” franchise and its upcoming fifth installment with Gibson at the helm, for continuing to work with the actor despite its company policy regarding inclusion.
Neither representatives for Gibson nor Warner Bros. immediately responded to Fox News’ request for comment.
“It would be great if higher-profile executives, producers, and actors would also take a stand. Then I could believe in this cancel culture I keep reading so much about. And I could also believe that Jews do, in fact, count,” Malina concluded.