The Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas has accused Mel Gibson of sabotaging a planned film about a famous 2nd century BC Jewish revolt for antisemitic reasons in an explosive letter to the disgraced actor and director.
Studio Warner Bros yesterday announced the cancellation of The Maccabees, which Gibson had been attached to direct, suggesting that Eszterhas's script lacked "a sense of triumph". In response, Eszterhas wrote a nine-page letter to Gibson in which he accused his former collaborator of using the project "to deflect continuing charges of antisemitism which have dogged you, charges which have crippled your career". He also cited occasions upon which Gibson had threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, Oksana Gregorieva, and accused the film-maker and actor of using offensive terms such as "hebes", "oven-dodgers" and "Jewboys" to describe Jews during their time working together.
"I've come to the conclusion that the reason you won't make The Maccabees is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews," wrote Eszterhas, who is best known for his screenplay for the 1992 Paul Verhoeven thriller Basic Instinct. "You continually called Jews 'Hebes' and 'oven-dodgers' and 'Jewboys.' It seemed that most times when we discussed someone, you asked 'He's a Hebe, isn't he?' You said most 'gatekeepers' of American companies were 'Hebes' who 'controlled their bosses.'"