Anything for Ratings
Today's NY Times:
Mel Gibson, whose "The Passion of the Christ" was assailed by critics as an anti-Semitic passion play - and whose father has been on record as a Holocaust denier - has a new project under way: a nonfiction miniseries about the Holocaust.Ah, the old "Some of my best friends are Holocaust survivors". In the same breath as he says only "some" of the people killed in the Holocaust were Jews.
Mr. Gibson's television production company is developing a four-hour miniseries for ABC based on the self-published memoir of Flory A. Van Beek, a Dutch Jew whose gentile neighbors hid her from the Nazis but who lost several relatives in concentration camps.
...Mr. Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson, has repeatedly denied that the Holocaust happened. Before the release of "The Passion of the Christ," Hutton Gibson said that accounts of the Holocaust were mostly "fiction" and asserted that there were more Jews in Europe after World War II than before.
Mel Gibson, for his part, when asked by an interviewer in early 2004 whether the Holocaust happened, responded that some of his best friends "have numbers on their arms," then added: "Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps."
Of course, we have to assume that ABC has a very good reason for allowing a topic as sensitive as the Holocaust to be tackled by a figure that is so controversial to Jews. No worries, they have a very good, well thought-out set of justifications:
But Quinn Taylor, ABC's senior vice president in charge of movies for television, acknowledged that the attention-getting value of having Mr. Gibson attached to a Holocaust project was a factor.Next week on ABC: Al Sharpton produces a documentary on the history of Black-Jewish race relations.
"Controversy's publicity, and vice versa," Mr. Taylor said.