Has your career ever stumbled as a result of being recorded leaving a foul-mouthed voicemail message on an ex-partner’s answerphone?
If you have, you’re not alone.
Hollywood superstar actor Mel Gibson came under fire in 2010 when an audiotape was leaked onto the internet that contained a recording of him launching into a racist and misogynistic rant against his ex-partner, Oksana Grigorieva.
The actor/director and Russian musician went through an acrimonious split resulting in a court settlement that was at one point worth a reported $15 million. The release of the secretly recorded audio tapes that featured private conversations between the former couple alongside Grigorieva’s decision to address domestic violence allegations against Gibson on The Howard Stern Show – led to the singer receiving just 1/60th of what she was originally offered in settlement.
The recording had been lodged with an LA court as part of the former couple’s highly acrimonious custody battle over access to their child.
Contained within the recording were a whole host of offensive slurs, the most incendiary of which involves a description of Grigorieva that Gibson gave over the phone where he said, “You look like a f*cking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n*ggers, it will be your fault,” alongside other angry rants for everything from her “tight clothes” to her “fake boobs.”
Revealing e-mails and text messages were also released in addition to the embarrassing tape recordings that exposed the secret negotiations the couple had undertaken that ultimately failed to keep the tapes private with the actor at one point having agreed to pay $15 million to keep the tapes under wraps.
Gibson broke his silence about the recordings in 2011 where he stated: “I’ve never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality – period. I don’t blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship. It’s one terribly awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn’t represent what I truly believe or how I’ve treated people my entire life.”
The incident occurred less than six months after Gibson made his Hollywood comeback with The Edge of Darkness – his first leading role in eight years. His career up until that point had been repeatedly undermined by a longstanding battle against alcoholism and anger management issues, the most famous of which occurred when Gibson unleashed an anti-Semitic rant in 2006 against a police officer in Malibu, California.
Gibson accused Jews of being responsible for “all the wars in the world” when he was apprehended for drunk driving.
On that occasion he made a succession of public apologies where he referred to his behaviour as “the stupid ramblings of a drunkard”.
The racist rants and death threats led to Gibson being dropped by his talent agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment in 2010 which in turn led to widespread speculation about whether his Hollywood glory days were over.
Gibson’s career received a resurgence in 2016 when his directorial effort for the film Hacksaw Ridge saw him receive rave reviews and nominations for many awards including Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for Gibson and Best Actor for lead star Andrew Garfield. Hacksaw Ridge was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. The film went on to gross $164 million worldwide which amounted to a fourfold return on its production costs.
Have a listen to the clip below and ask yourself if you would enjoy a successful career comeback after being frozen out of the industry you work in for being recorded making a series of racist and sexist remarks to an ex-partner – no doubt you’d be well advised to take the high road in any relationship disagreements rather than the Fury Road as Mr. Gibson did.