Warner Brothers Ditches Mel Gibson’s Judah Maccabee Movie; More Anti-Semitic Accusations Fly

At this point it’s clear that controversy follows Mel Gibson wherever he goes, and yet it’s still pretty hard to believe that he’s in the middle of yet another public dispute and being accused of making even more anti-Semitic comments. Last year he announced that his next directorial project would likely be an action epic based on the story of Judah Maccabee, a Jewish warrior from the 2nd century B.C. who led a revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies. Although the project was clearly in the same vein as his previous films Braveheart and Apocalypto, it also seemed like a thinly veiled attempt to make amends with the Jewish community after his drunken racial slurs. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers recently decided not to move ahead with the project, and now screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct) has sent a letter to Gibson alleging that he never intended to make the movie and that he simply hates Jews. Is the world out to get The Gibber or will he simply never learn?

In the letter, which was obtained by The Wrap, Eszterhas claims that Gibson was out of control and constantly referred to Jews as “Hebes”, “oven-dodgers” and “Jewboys.” He also continually threatened his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Gregorieva, even after they had reached a custody agreement over their daughter. Gibson has since responded via Deadline:


I have your letter. I am not going to respond to it line by line, but I will say that the great majority of the facts as well as the statements and actions attributed to me in your letter are utter fabrications. I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter. I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script.

I will acknowledge like most creative people I am passionate and intense. I was very frustrated that when you arrived at my home at the expense of both Warner Brothers and myself you hadn’t written a single word of a script or even an outline after 15 months of research, meetings, discussions and the outpouring of my heartfelt vision for this story. I did react more strongly than I should have. I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find offensive. Let me now clearly apologize to you and your family in the simplest of terms.

Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced 8 years ago. I absolutely want to make this movie; it’s just that neither Warner Brothers nor I want to make this movie based on your script.

Honestly, Joe, not only was the script delivered later than you promised, both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor.

I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication.


It does sound like Gibson will continue to pursue The Maccabees independently, most likely with the help of a different screenwriter. However, this is obviously more bad publicity for Gibson, whose upcoming film Get the Gringo hits VOD on May 1st. How many more mishaps can his career possibly withstand?

Around the Web:

  • Kasper

    All this anti-Gibson talk everywhere is tiresome. The man makes good movies, that’s all I need to know.

  • I always thought it was odd that Gibson had a 30 year career where he was viewed in high regard before all this stuff started coming out (the last 5 years or so). He must have had a great PR team once upon a time! Or maybe I just missed it?

  • Jonny Ashley

    If Gibson hates the script so much, why won’t he give it back to Eszterhas? Is he gonna get someone else to fix it up?

  • Henrik

    Do you usually give stuff back after you bought it, even if you were disappointed with it?

    The last line of his response is pretty awesome… I pray to Odin for his viking movie to become reality.

  • Jsin

    There was a South Park episode about Gibson being a total nutjob but being a better director than most of those in Hollywood.

    And Spike Lee tries tweets out the address of George Zimmerman with the intent of trying to get him hurt or killed. It turns out the address is of an elderly couple that fears for their life. Put on top of that his Jewish stereotypes in Mo’ Better Blues. But not a peep about him being a douchebag.

  • Niklas

    Soo… a script writer is pissed because gibson doesn’t want to make a movie out of his script and as a result is leaking things to the media about gibson making racist rants?

    come on..

  • paulm

    I didn’t know Joe Eszterhas was still alive. I thought “Sliver”, “Showgirls”, and “Jade” made him die of embarrassment. And I like Mel’s letter. Maybe he’s felling better.