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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2006, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Foster defends 'kind' Mel Gibson
Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster starred with Gibson in the film Maverick
Actress Jodie Foster has spoken out in defence of Mel Gibson, insisting he is "absolutely not" an anti-Semite.

The actor was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving on 28 July. During the arrest, he made what he described as "harmful" anti-Semitic comments.

Mr Gibson, 50, was later charged with drink-related offences, and has apologised for his outburst.

Ms Foster told the Los Angeles Times that Mr Gibson had "always fought a terrible battle with alcoholism".

"Mel is honest, loyal, kind, but alcoholism has been a lifelong struggle for him and his family," she said.

He took his recovery very seriously, which is why I know he is strong enough to get through this now
Jodie Foster
"I just wish I had been there, that I had been able to say, 'Don't do it, don't take that drink'."

Ms Foster, who starred with Mr Gibson in the film Maverick, said the actor's previous struggles with alcohol provided "a shining example of how low you can go when you are young and still pull yourself up".

"He took his recovery very seriously, which is why I know he is strong enough to get through this now."

The Silence of the Lambs actress added that she did not believe Mr Gibson was using his alcoholism as an excuse for the anti-Semitic remarks.

Outburst

Mel Gibson police mug shot taken after arrest
Gibson's anti-Semitic remarks have caused a furore
The actor's outburst came when he was stopped for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

According to a law enforcement official, Mr Gibson told the arresting officer: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world", and asked him: "Are you a Jew?"

In a statement last week, the actor and director said: "Please know from my heart I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith."

I believe it was the disease speaking, not the man
Dean Devlin
Film producer
He has also asked to meet Jewish groups to "discern the appropriate path for healing".

Jewish movie producer Dean Devlin, who worked with Mr Gibson on the film The Patriot, has also spoken out in defence of the actor.

"If Mel is an anti-Semite, then he spends a lot of time with us, which makes no sense," he said.

"But he is an alcoholic, and while that makes no excuse for what he said, because there is no excuse, I believe it was the disease speaking, not the man."

However, other key Hollywood figures have criticised the actor.

"It's incredibly disappointing somebody of his stature would speak out that way at this sensitive time," Sony Pictures' Amy Pascal told the Los Angeles Times.

Producer Peter Bart, meanwhile, said the star had "seriously compromised" his career.

Court date

Mr Gibson is expected to appear in court on the drink-driving related charges on 28 September.

He is accused of driving under the influence, having a raised blood-alcohol level and having an open alcohol bottle in the car.

He has not been charged with speeding or in relation to his anti-Semitic comments.

Mr Gibson won a best director Oscar for his 1995 film Braveheart, in which he also starred.

His 2004 biblical epic, The Passion of the Christ, was recently named the most controversial movie to date by US magazine Entertainment Weekly.




SEE ALSO
Gibson faces drink-drive charges
02 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson admits anti-Jewish remarks
01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Mel Gibson's statement in full
01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Hollywood reacts to Gibson furore
01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Mel Gibson's controversial career
01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson 'outburst' under spotlight
31 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Drink-driving Gibson says sorry
30 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson arrested for drink-driving
28 Jul 06 |  Entertainment

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