Actor-director Mel Gibson is preparing to fight back against religious groups that have criticized his portrayal of Jews in his new film about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, reports the Melbourne Herald Sun.
According to the paper, Gibson has threatened lawsuits against both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Anti-Defamation League. The groups have been critical of Gibson’s film portrayal of Jewish complicity in the execution of Christ.
The actor reportedly is part of a traditionalist Catholic movement that holds to the belief that Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. The movement rejects changes made in Catholic doctrine in the ’60s that eliminated the emphasis on Jewish guilt, the Herald Sun reports.
Gibson’s film, “The Passion,” finished shooting in Rome last month. The dialogue is in Latin and Aramaic, but no subtitles will be included.
According to the paper, Sister Mary Boys, professor of practical theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York, said, “The Anti-Defamation League and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reviewed the script and we wrote a report that was sent to Mr. Gibson’s company.
“We have concerns about the role of Jews in the movie and we were hoping to get some changes. Mr. Gibson’s company has retaliated by threatening a lawsuit.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, Gibson has lashed out against those he says were planning to “dig up dirt” on him and his family.
“Whenever you take up a subject like [Christ’s crucifixion] it does bring out a lot of enemies,” he said. His private life, his banking records, charities he supports, friends, business associates and family members have all undergone scrutiny in the investigation, he told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly in January.
“I’m a big boy,” said Gibson. “I can take care of myself, but when you start messing around with my 85-year-old father, watch out,” referring to attempts to scrutinize the beliefs of the actor’s father, Hutton Gibson.
The elder Gibson, also a traditionalist Catholic, has been quoted in media reports saying the Holocaust never happened and the World Trade Center was destroyed by remote control, according to the Melbourne paper.
“The Passion” is the first film Gibson has directed since winning an Academy Award for “Braveheart.”