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Ari Emanuel vs. Mel Gibson

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 9, 2010 at 12:30PM

Mel Gibson is not having a good month. His ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, fighting him in court, taped him saying nasty racist things and went public with them. He's being investigated for domestic abuse. His beloved agent of 32 years, Ed Limato, passed away last weekend after a long illness. And with him no longer providing protection, his agency WME summarily dumped him.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Mel Gibson is not having a good month. His ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, fighting him in court, taped him saying nasty racist things and went public with them. He's being investigated for domestic abuse. His beloved agent of 32 years, Ed Limato, passed away last weekend after a long illness. And with him no longer providing protection, his agency WME summarily dumped him.

WME chief Ari Emanuel wasn't happy back in 2006, when the drunk Gibson threw offensive invective around on the Pacific Coast Highway. The Wrap digs up what Emanuel wrote for The Huffington Post:

"Alcoholism does not excuse racism and anti-Semitism. [People in the entertainment community] need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him ...There are times in history when standing up against bigotry and racism is more important than money."

"The shock value is zip," says one producer. "Ari was obligated to do it given that he'd gone on the record about it. Things will die down. Everything always does." The agency reportedly stopped repping Gibson the day before Limato died.

Thompson on Hollywood

But don't worry about Gibson. He doesn't need anybody to back his movies or give him parts. THR reports that Gibson never planned to get another agent anyway.

His old friend Jodie Foster has staunchly defended him; she gave him a role in her new movie The Beaver, set to be released by Summit, which will likely push back the release date. (Foster has had bad luck with her directing gigs. Russell Crowe was supposed to star in Flora Plum but broke his shoulder, and she's never been able to get it made.)

So what's going to happen to Gibson?

Folks know where to find him, although the major studios are unlikely to offer him acting roles in the near term. Currently, Gibson's filming How I Spent My Summer Vacation for his own Icon Productions. Point is, the guy can afford to pay for anything he wants to make out of his own pocket. Clearly, he's a bad drunk with a lot of nasty crap in his head. Most people get to rant with their partners in private. Gibson didn't.


This article is related to: Headliners, Hollywood, Celebs, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Agencies


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.