The story in the New York Times was all about how Mel Gibson will never work in that town again because of his movie. The New York Times quoted, unnamed Hollywood executives saying he’s ruined his career; he doesn’t have a chance here, and the story. The story mentioned that Hollywood is “mostly Jewish,” and Gibson has produced a movie that they’re not going to like, and this is going to ruin his career. Now, the question — or the thing I want to explain to you is why I didn’t bother mentioning this to you yesterday, and it’s my fault, and it’s my error, and I want to explain the error not excuse it. I didn’t think that was anything new.
I didn’t think when I read that, I didn’t think that was odd. I did not think it odd whatsoever that the Hollywood intelligentsia would blacklist a guy and would say so, quoting without attribution. We don’t know who it was that said — two big muckety-muck producers, studio heads or whatever, said that he doesn’t have a chance of working in this town again. He’s really damaging his career. This movie is damaging Gibson’s career because of the subject matter. And, frankly, folks, it didn’t surprise me. That’s why it didn’t register to me to even mention to you, because that has been something that I seem to have just accepted as the reality of political life in America.
And I will admit to you that in my case, maybe I’ve personalized it too much because I know full well where I’m not going to be allowed, where I can’t go. I’m talking about career-wise. I know full well what I’m not going to be allowed to do because of what I believe. I know full well. We’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen it happen. I know full well where I can go say whatever I want to say and where I can’t. I know full well what’s — and not just me, but other conservatives. We’ve all heard the stories of how conservatives in Hollywood have to stay quiet.
They will not go public unless they’re a huge box office because they don’t want to ruin their chances of getting work. So I read this and it frankly didn’t surprise me. So it didn’t register. It just seemed to me, “Well, this is the way it is.” You know certain people run certain areas of business, and if you don’t agree with them politically or if you’re not what they want you to be, you don’t have a chance of entering that business and scoring well. That’s been a reality for me for the 15 years I’ve been doing this program. And so it didn’t stand out, and I apologize because it should have outraged me.
My reaction should not have been, “Ho-hum. This is just more of the same,” and the reason it wasn’t is simply because I personalized it. I did not stop to think of it in the terms of what it meant for Mel Gibson, because again it didn’t strike me as news, even though it was flat out, right there in print. I should have been outraged. Well, I was outraged. I should have brought it to your attention. I should have told you about it. I’m sure some of you have heard of it by now anyway, because it further helps to establish the point. It further helps to establish the dividing lines that exist that we have been trying to discuss and tell you about for the whole 15-plus years that I have been doing this program.
Well, the Washington Times story today sort of adds fuel to the fire. This is even better, in a way. “Early detractors of Mel Gibson’s movie are backing away from their critical remarks now, after the movie grossed a record-setting $26.6 million on its first day.” And I have read stories today from movie experts and all these trade publications who were asked if they were surprised it did this well, and they were all saying that they were stunned. They were literally stunned. They couldn’t believe it would do this well. Nobody in Hollywood thought this movie would rate anything. Nobody thought anybody would be interested in it. Nobody thought anybody would want to go see it, not in any great numbers, and they’re all stunned, and they’re not just making it up. They generally are stunned.
Now, you talk about flyover country and the East Coast and the West Coast being out of touch. I’m telling you, folks, there is a whole segment of this population that not only is denigrated, looked down upon, impugned, laughed at and made fun of, it’s basically been ignored now and it’s thought not to exist, and that is a traditional conservative Christian population — which is a very, very, very, very very large segment of this country. It’s just assumed they’re not there. It’s just assumed that they don’t do things. They’re not worth marketing to. They just don’t exist, and these people are stunned! These experts, these Hollywood journalists and these producers, they are stunned that people have an interest in seeing this movie.
Now, what does that tell us, that they are stunned? And they are so stunned that they are retracting their criticism. When do they ever do that? When do you ever hear these ivory-tower muckety-mucks retract their criticism and want to get in on the bandwagon? When do you hear that happen? I don’t. When I hear people of this elite nature offer criticism they stick with it for the rest of their lives; it becomes part of their being. The Passion, which opened yesterday on over 4,500 screens in 3,000 theaters, “set a record for the biggest opening day for a movie released outside the summer and winter holiday months…. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) retracted critical remarks made about the film last April by its ecumenical and interreligious committee, which suggested that the film might be anti-Semitic.”
Now, this really steamed me. Who is this group? the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Now, we know they’re a bunch of liberals. But still, take that away. They’re Catholics. This is a movie about what these people profess to be experts in! This is a movie about what these people teach others to believe and learn — and these are the experts! These are the fathers, if you will, and they are so scared. They are so scared of a movie they didn’t even see that they had to run with the critics and say, “Anti-Semitisc! We don’t want to be…” They didn’t even have the guts to stand up for this, and it’s about them!
It’s about who they are, and they didn’t have the guts to stand up — and now they want to get back in. Now that the American people are going to see the movie in droves, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ah, forget it, forget it. We want to be back in. “In remarks released Wednesday on the Catholic news service, three staff members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops office fulfillment broadcasting is the film might be overly violent but it’s not anti-Semitic now.” What business did you people have saying it was anti-Semitic anyway? You know that there’s no anti-Semitism in the story of the crucifixion. That’s not what it’s about. Why did you join the chorus of detractors of a movie made by a man of your faith about what you do?
Because you’re gutless. These are gutless people. Now, if gutless people are standing up, how can gutless people stand up for Jesus Christ? They ran away from this, and now of course, “Can we come back in? Can we come back in? I guess there’s no anti-Semitism now.” I saw this movie in July. I’ve been telling anybody who’s asking me: “There’s no anti-Semitism in the movie. I know anti-Semitism when I see it. It’s all over the Middle East. That’s where anti-Semitism is. It’s all over France. It’s all over Germany. I know it when I see it. It isn’t here.”
Anti-Semitism is not in Georgia. It’s not in Mississippi. It’s not in New York. It’s not in Wisconsin or wherever. This is just mind-boggling to me. “The Hollywood film company, DreamWorks, also back away from remarks published in yesterday’s New York Times suggesting that Hollywood producers will blacklist Mr. Gibson. Quoting unnamed studio execs, the article said ‘some of Hollywood’s biggest producers were angry over Gibson’s refusal to repudiate remarks made by his father.'” His father had nothing to do with the movie!
Anyway, Jeffrey Katzenberg was the one of the people mentioned in the New York Times but not quoted, and he’s put out a statement saying [paraphrased], “No, we didn’t feel this way. The Times story got us wrong.” Which is fine. But there were a bunch of them that spoke without attribution, and this business of dumping this on his dad is BS, anyway. That’s not why they opposed Gibson and that’s not why they opposed this movie. The dad, Gibson’s dad, just gave them a convenient thing to lean on.
They didn’t like Gibson because they didn’t like the subject matter of the movie. That’s all it is, and this is why the story in the New York Times yesterday did not move me, because it’s not a surprise to me. How many times have we discussed here how conservatives can’t work in Hollywood? Okay, how many blacklist stories over the years have there been about Hollywood people? So, okay, here’s another one, yip yip yip yip yahoo! I apologized for not bringing it to your attention but I’m telling you, folks: it’s nothing new.
This may be the most glaring, gutless example of it — and also I would say the most panicked. You’ve got a movie here that’s going to outdo 90% of the trash that comes out of that town, and not one of those people in that town had anything to do with it. Mel Gibson did it all himself. It’s his money; it’s his production company. There’s not a person in that town can lay a hand of credit on this thing. No agent, no studio, nothing. And they thought it was going to bomb. Now it’s going to be bigger than 90% of the stuff that they make. So I read a story they’re going to blacklist him. Yeah, so what? Who’s surprised? I’m sorry I didn’t bring it to your attention yesterday.
I realize, ladies and gentlemen, we’re only into our second day of showings of “The Passion of the Christ,” but I want to know: Where are the roving bands of hateful Christians throughout the streets of America wreaking havoc and violence on the innocent and harmless people of this country? Where is this happening? Remember all of these predictions? You know, all of this panicked outcry: “Why, why, anti-Semitism! Why…” This movie doesn’t create any anti-anything. This movie, you’ve talked to people who have seen it. I hope you have. This is unlike any movie experience anybody’s ever had.
There’s no agenda. There’s no call to action. There’s no nothing here, folks. This is one of the most personal experiences a moviegoer will ever have, so personal it is going to be difficult for you to tell people what you felt. It’s going to be difficult to tell people what you thought. You’ll be able to, but it’s going to be difficult. But this is, this whole thing, it just continues to boggle the mind in a way.
The presumptions that are made about people who are law-abiding, peaceful, don’t cause anybody any trouble, about how they’re the ones that are going to causing all the trouble. The people that are causing all the trouble, the people causing “civil disobedience,” the people blowing up buildings, they’re always excused. They’re always explained. We’re always told, “We have to take into account their socioeconomic and psychological circumstances so we understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.” And then people who don’t engage in destructive, harmful behavior at all are pointed to and warned that they’d better keep their place.
In the meantime, the guy that makes the movie is being told the industry in which he is an overwhelming financial, professional success may not want him anymore. Blacklisting? Blacklisting communists was wrong, but blacklisting conservatives is okay. Yeah. I’m not even — forget the blacklisting in the past. I’m just saying Hollywood is famous for it. I don’t care who got blacklisted. That’s all I’m saying is when I saw that story yesterday, “Yeah, ho-hum. What’s new?” I’ve apologized, what do you want me to do? Want me to spank myself? What have I got to do?