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Mel Gibson says renewed allegations of anti-Semitic comments leveled against him by Winona Ryder are as false now as they were 10 years ago.
In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, the actress claimed Gibson, 25 years ago, asked if she was an “oven dodger,” an apparent reference to her Jewish heritage.
“We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends and Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh, wait, am I gonna get AIDS?’” she said in the interview. “And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’” the actress said, adding Gibson later “tried” to apologize to her. She made a similar accusation in a 2010 interview with GQ.
Gibson’s rep told The Hollywood Reporter Ryder’s story is “100 percent untrue.”
“She lied about it over a decade ago, when she talked to the press, and she’s lying about it now,” his rep said. “Also, she lied about him trying to apologize to her back then. He did reach out to her, many years ago, to confront her about her lies and she refused to address it with him.”
Ryder pushed back Tuesday afternoon on Gibson’s denial and said she stood by her memory of the interaction.
“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,” Ryder said in a statement to THR. “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.”
Gibson had a huge fall from grace in 2006 after he made a number of anti-Semitic remarks while being arrested for drunk driving, saying in part “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” He went on an apology tour, but was still blacklisted in Hollywood for years before slowly re-emerging with a few acting roles and his directorial comeback, 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge, which won two Academy Awards. Gibson was nominated for best director that year.
4 p.m.: Updated with statement from Ryder.
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