Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Passionate Respone: Rich Klein, whose Riverside PR blog is focused on litigation and crisis public relations, questions the ethics of Rogers & Cowan, the PR firm representing Mel Gibson, in the wake of the actor’s drunken anti-Semitic rant while being arrested.

My own interpretation is that Gibson, who clearly identifies with messianic characters (from William Wallace to Jesus Christ) literally thought he was being arrested by the Jews and was about to be sentenced to crucifixion.

Seriously, it’s hard to interpret the Passion of the Christ as anything other than an anti-Semitic screed, even without this latest evidence of Gibson’s feelings on the subject. The four gospels each present a different version of the crucifixion myth. Gibson could have chosen any one of them as the basis for his movie, but instead he cherry picked from each, and in every case chose the version least favorable to the Jews (Herod’s refusal to get involved from Luke, the scourging of Jesus in front of a Jewish mob from John, Pilate’s washing his hands of responsibility from Matthew). It’s hard to accept those decisions as simple coincidence.

Klein raises interesting questions about whether Gibson deserves continued representation, but the real PR challenge is likely to be faced by Disney’s ABC television network, which last year commissioned Gibson to produce a non-fiction TV movie about the holocaust. (Don’t ask me why.) Jewish groups are likely to question whether Gibson is the best man for such a sensitive project. But expect Gibson’s followers on the Christian right to react with fury—and a boycott—if he’s dropped.

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