Mel Gibson hesitated to answer a question regarding the Oscars incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock, leading to an awkward ending to a TV interview.
Appearing on Fox News about Gibson’s new film ‘Father Stu,’ presenter Jesse Watters asked the actor, director and producer what he thought of the slap in the face Will Smith gave comedian Chris Rock during the Oscar ceremony.
“You probably understand it better than a lot of people, with your career,” Watters said, “I was wondering if […] Was it you who got up from his seat and slapped Chris Rock, if you had been treated the same, Mel?”
This prompted Gibson to point his finger at the camera and shake his palm, seemingly showing his reluctance to respond. An off-camera female voice, apparently her PR assistant, said, “Hello, Jessie? Thank you. It’s our turn.”
Watters persisted, asking, “Have you ever thought about that?” Seeing that Gibson wasn’t going to respond, Watters thanked his guest and plugged in his movie based on the true story of Stuart Long, a boxer turned Catholic priest.
Sony Pictures, which released “Father Stu,” has been contacted by Newsweek for comment.
The moment came five minutes after a relatively flattering interview in which Watters praised Gibson.
He asked about his themes such as how to deal with suffering, the subjugation of the ego, and what Gibson said was the self-surrender necessary to embrace a belief in God.
After the interview ended abruptly, Watters read a viewer’s comment to ask if Gibson “had any idea who you are?” “If I was a bettor, I would say no,” Watters replied.
Watters’ question seemed to point to some of the controversies the Lethal Weapon star has faced over the course of his career.
He had an enforced hiatus in Hollywood following an infamous 2006 Malubu drunk driving arrest in which he launched an anti-Semitic rant, for which he later apologized. He was accused of making other anti-Semitic remarks. Tapes leaked in 2010 apparently revealed Gibson yelling racist remarks at his then-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.
Meanwhile, there has been considerable fallout from the Oscars incident which was sparked by Rock’s comment on Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s cropped haircut, who went public about her alopecia.
On Friday, Will Smith officially resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and it remains to be seen if he can keep the best actor Oscar he won for ‘King Richard’.
However, Gibson Eugene Scott, a political reporter for the Washington Post, tweeted that Gibson was among a number of other stars who kept their Oscars in the wake of scandals.