Los Angeles Magazine (LA Mag) has unearthed prior comments from Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas alleging that filmmaker Mel Gibson has called Jews “oven-dodgers,” an allegation that actress Winona Ryder has also made.
According to LA Mag’s June 23 article, Eszterhas, who wrote “Basic Instinct” and “Jagged Edge,” said in a 2019 appearance on “The Originals” podcast that he and Gibson had worked toward making a movie about the Maccabees, the army of Jews that retook Judea from the Seleucid Empire starting in 167 B.C.E. Eszterhas alleged that when they had worked together, Gibson frequently referred to Jews as “Hebes and oven-dodgers and Jew boys.”
LA Mag also pointed to a 2012 letter from Eszterhas to Gibson making similar allegations.
“It seemed that most times we discussed when we discussed someone you asked, ‘He’s a Hebe isn’t he?’ or ‘Is he a Hebe?’” Eszterhas wrote at the time. “You said most ‘gatekeepers’ of American companies were ‘Hebes’ who ‘controlled their bosses.’ ”
He also alleged in the letter that Gibson said that the Torah calls for the sacrifice of babies, that Jews assassinated Pope John Paul I and that he didn’t want to visit Jerusalem and Yad Vashem (Holocaust remembrance center) to obtain research for the movie because “my guys know much more here than the Hebes do there.” Additionally, Eszterhas wrote in the letter that Gibson hoped to use the Maccabee movie to convert Jews to Christianity.
The letter also alleges that Gibson frequently went into profanity-laced tirades about his ex-girlfriend and targeted Eszterhas and his family in some of these tirades.
“I believe in Jesus Christ and you say you do too … but Jesus Christ teaches love, not hate,” Eszterhas wrote.
The LA Mag article comes after Ryder alleged in a June 21 interview with the Sunday Times, a British newspaper, that Gibson told her in 1996 that she looked “too Jewish” and was an “oven-dodger.” Ryder had previously made the allegations in 2010. The New York Post reported on June 23 that Gibson has been removed from ‘Chicken Run 2’ as a result of the alleged “oven-dodger” remarks.
Gibson’s spokesperson, Alan Nierob, denied the allegations, telling The Hollywood Reporter on June 23 that Ryder’s allegations are “100% untrue.” Ryder responded in a statement to the Journal that read, “I believe in redemption and forgiveness and hope that Mr. Gibson has found a healthy way to deal with his demons, but I am not one of them. Around 1996, my friend Kevyn Aucoin and I were on the receiving end of his hateful words. It is a painful and vivid memory for me. Only by accepting responsibility for our behavior in this life, can we make amends and truly respect each other, and I wish him well on this lifelong journey.”