I started out this post intending to send up for Mel Gibson putting another cool $8M into his ‘traditionalist’ personal parish since after September 14th, the party may be over. However, I have been detoured on my quest by the need to comment on the story about Mel on Foxnews.com by Roger Friedman. Now, I understand why many people, including someone named Friedman, would not have Mr. Gibson on the top of his dinner party list. However, this ‘story’ seemed particularly vitriolic and not altogether factual.
Mel Gibson Sinks $8 Million More Into Controversial Church
Mel Gibson is not losing his religion. He keeps investing his “Passion of the Christ” money into the church he built in Agoura Hills, Calif.
Last year, Gibson parked another $8.2 million in his AP Reilly Foundation, the tax-free entity that takes care of his Holy Family Catholic Church. [Silly yes, but who cares?]
Gibson’s church is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church because it does not acknowledge the authority of the pope or the Vatican or the doctrine known as Vatican II [huh?]. Gibson and many of his fellow congregants are Holocaust deniers [They are? He is? Loud mouth drunk? OK. Anti-semite? Maybe. But I have never heard that Mel is a holocaust denier!], as is Gibson’s father, who has been known to contribute to neo-Nazi publications. [Guilt by familial association. I have this cousin who was drunk at a wedding and he said….well…never mind, but that does not mean I must think the same way as my cousin just because we are related. Silly. Although I must admit, my cousin was right, they were ugly baby pictures.]
Gibson, nevertheless, perseveres. According to a federal tax filing obtained exclusively by this column, the foundation now has $30 million in its coffers, up from $22 million last year.
The church sits on about 11 acres of land owned by the Foundation and worth around $3 million, according to public documents.
Let’s put this into perspective. Los Angeles Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters only has $1.6 million in its till. The Malibu Roman Catholic Church, which is recognized by the archdiocese, supports 600 families. It has a fraction of Holy Family’s budget. But Holy Family is said to accommodate about 70 families altogether. That’s quite a difference. [Agreed. Quite a difference, but it is his money. Maybe if Cardinal Mahony hadn’t sold the kitchen sink to stay off the stand the could fund it better.]
Thanks to “The Passion of the Christ” and his anti-Semitic rant last year when he was arrested in Malibu, Gibson is no longer a significant Hollywood player. [What? Thanks to the Passion, Mel is not a player? $611,899,420 worldwide gross. The Passion was huge and Hollywood is loves money more than anything else. This part of his claim is absurd. Further, Mel’s post rant Apocalypto has managed $120,076,725 so far. Maybe not stellar, but it is patently silly to write him off as a player. He is very creative and loaded. That makes him a player.] But he obviously has money, and he is using it as he sees fit.
What makes his activities interesting for Hollywood is whether he will continue to play a part as client of Ed Limato, the ICM agent who recently lost his job.
Limato is talking to several agencies about joining them, dangling the fates of his various clients. Denzel Washington, Richard Gere and Steve Martin are certainly desirable names. But Gibson is a liability for Limato at Endeavor, and could be elsewhere as well. [Oh c’mon, please. I’ll make you a bet. Who will earn more acting money over the next ten years, Steve Martin or Mel Gibson. Any takers?]
Indeed, Gibson’s Icon Productions has just about ground to a standstill in the last year since his violent “Apocalypto” was released.
After several years of lots of activity, Icon now has almost nothing in production, is distributing one B-movie and doesn’t look set up for anything interesting in the near future. Maybe that’s because all of Gibson’s attention is focused now on Holy Family.
This was a total non-story. The entire story was an excuse for Friedman to lay into Mel Gibson. Mr. Friedman is entitled to dislike Mel, but he shouldn’t just make up lies about him.