In the same week the Nixon tapes revealed that former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, would’ve let Soviet Jews die gas chambers, we learn from Winona Ryder that Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic as far back as 15 years ago. Shocking. Who would’ve thought the man who brought us the Passion of the Christ didn’t just discover his anti-Jewish feelings when he was famously arrested for DUI in Malibu in 2006?
The actress, who is Jewishly known as Winona Laura Horowitz, spoke to GQ to promote her new film, Black Swan (which Allison Hoffman reviewed for Tablet), and told them about a big Hollywood party she had attended 15 years ago where she bumped into Gibson.
“Somehow it came up that I was Jewish,” Ryder told the magazine. “He said something about ‘oven dodgers,’ but I didn’t get it. I’d never heard that before.”
Neither have I but the phrase might be a stroke of evil genius – conflating the Holocaust with Vietnam draft dodgers. Or the Holocaust with dodge ball. (I can just hear Rip Torn’s Patches O’Houlihan from Dodgeball saying, “If you can dodge an oven, you can dodge a ball.”) Ryder goes onto say how she tried to warn others. “I was like, ‘He’s anti-Semitic and he’s homophobic.’ No one believed me!” Yes, Winona, you get to tell us all a big “I told you so!” But perhaps you should’ve stepped forward before this was common knowledge.
While GQ didn’t think that this little story was all that important and published it in parenthesis as merely a Mel Gibson anecdote, we here at Tablet (and the rest the of the Jewish media, if they’ll permit me to speak for them) think that Mel Gibson’s words from 15 years ago deserve more scrutiny and perhaps even a denouncement from Abe Foxman. It’s not like he’s busy calling anyone anti-Semitic these days, anyway.
Dvora Meyers is a journalist and author based in Brooklyn.