The head of a Catholic group condemned critics of Mel Gibson’s upcoming film “The Passion of the Christ,” charging focus on the producer’s father is the last straw.
“The attack on ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is unprecedented in its ruthlessness,” said Catholic League president William Donohue.
He went through a long list of actions by critics, including scripts and tapes stolen and given to “those who could be counted on to slam it,” impugning Gibson’s faith, accusations it will provoke anti-Semitism and attempts to “bully” Gibson into changing the film.
“Now they’re going after Mel’s 85-year-old father,” Donahue said, referring to a radio interview this week in which Hutton Gibson discussed his views that Jews plot to take over the Catholic Church and the entire world and have greatly exaggerated the Holocaust.
“The search-and-destroy operation being conducted by the movie’s critics knows no boundaries,” Donahue said. “Make no mistake about it, those obsessed with killing this movie will not manipulate Bill Donohue into berating Hutton Gibson. Nor will they push me to ask for information on how I can contact their fathers, though the thought is tempting.”
Hutton Gibson told Steve Feuerstein of New York’s WSNR his belief that Jews are “actively anti-Christian” and “anti-everyone else.”
The Australian, who has publicly aired these views before, commented on the Nazi extermination of Jews in death camps.
“It’s all – maybe not all – fiction, but most of it is,” he told Feuerstein.
In Mel Gibson’s interview with ABC reporter Diane Sawyer, broadcast last Monday, the actor called anti-Semitism a sin and the Holocaust “an atrocity of monumental proportions.”
He refused, however, to denounce his father.
“He’s my father. Gotta leave it alone, Diane. Gotta leave it alone.”
The film, which is set to open Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, will now be seen in at least 2,800 theaters instead of 2,000, because of increasing demand.
Last week, Donahue challenged a Fox News online column that criticized Gibson for “selectively distributing” his film to avoid upscale, liberal and Jewish areas, insisting the columnist had his facts wrong.
In his remarks yesterday, he also assailed the fact that “demands for a postscript have been made by those who seek to put Gibson on the defensive; bishops have been badgered to get Mel’s friends in line; and the Vatican has been lobbied to criticize the movie.”
Donahue said critics have expressed “fears that the movie will damage youngsters who see it” and demanded “that Gibson vet his script for approval to officials of the Catholic Church have frequently been made.”
Critics “have deceitfully gained admission into screenings of the film,” he said, “highly personal questions about Gibson’s life have been raised; sneering comments that the film may make a profit have been voiced; the way the movie has been marketed has been raised in a derisive way; demands that the film be censored have been made at public rallies; Catholics who defend the movie have been insulted by foes of the film; disrespect for Gibson’s artistic rights has been voiced many times; and so on.”
Editor’s note: Coinciding with the release of Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ,” WorldNetDaily has produced one of the most extraordinary editions of its monthly Whistleblower magazine ever produced, titled “THE DAY JESUS DIED.”