On January 23, Mel Gibson was interviewed by Raymond Arroyo on the EWTN show “The World Over”; the discussion centered on Gibson’s yet-to-be released movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” Clips of the interview were shown on several TV shows, but only one has stirred controversy: “The Early Show” that aired today on CBS. “The Early Show” ran the following exchange between Arroyo and Gibson:
Gibson: “The film collectively blames humanity for the death of Jesus. Now there are no exemptions there. All right? I’m the first on the line for culpability—I did it. Christ died for all men, for all times.”
Arroyo: “Including the Jewish people?”
Gibson: “Yeah. They’re part of the human race….”
The problem is with the introductory comments made by Rene Syler of “The Early Show.” Here is what she said prior to the clip: “Some critics say it’s anti-Semitic because it blames Jews for the Crucifixion. In a TV interview Gibson does not deny it.”
Catholic League president William Donohue commented as follows:
“CBS has now added to the ruthless campaign against Mel Gibson and his movie. The statement by Rene Syler of what Gibson said was dishonest. To the extent that viewers accept her conclusion, they might well think Gibson is a bigot. But any fair-minded person who reads what Gibson actually said knows that CBS has acted unethically. CBS owes Mel Gibson an apology.
“The movie is a month away and the campaign against it has reached a fever pitch. The Catholic League is ready for the fight and will not be silenced by those who want to dictate history—past, present and future.”