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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 October 2006, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Attacks 'led to' Gibson outburst
Mel Gibson
Gibson gave the interview to ABC presenter Diane Sawyer
Mel Gibson has said his anti-Semitic outburst in July may have stemmed from resentment over the criticism levelled at The Passion of the Christ.

Gibson's 2004 depiction of Jesus Christ's crucifixion had been attacked by Jewish leaders, who said it could incite hatred towards Jews.

He told US TV's Good Morning America he was "ashamed" of what he said.

"I was subjected to a pretty brutal public beating. I thought I'd dealt with that stuff," he said.

"But the human heart can bear the scars of resentment, and it will come out when you are overwrought and you take a few drinks," he told ABC interviewer Diane Sawyer.

In the interview, screened over two days, the actor and director also said his statement to police that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" grew out of concerns about violence between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

'Outrageous, drunken statement'

Asked by Sawyer, "what are the Jews responsible for?", Gibson replied: "They're not blameless in the [Middle East] conflict."

Mel Gibson booking photo
Mel Gibson pleaded guilty to drink-driving
He added: "Now when you're loaded [drunk], the balance of how you see things comes out the wrong way.

"Let me be real clear, here. In sobriety here, in front of you, national television... I don't believe that Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Gibson told Sawyer.

"That's an outrageous, drunken statement."

Gibson himself is a conservative Catholic and has been vocal about his opposition to abortion, birth control and divorce.

He also denied being influenced by his father, Hutton Gibson, who has publicly said he doubts six million Jews were killed by the Nazis.

The interview ended with Gibson saying he needed to "heal myself" and "allay the fears of others and heal them if they had any wounds from something I might have said".

Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of Jewish campaign group the Anti-Defamation League told Reuters he was heartened by Gibson's closing words.

"But I felt that when Diane Sawyer was probing about why he did it, there was a problem because there is a thin line between explanation and excuses, and some of it came close to excuses," he said.

Gibson was given three years' probation and told to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after pleading guilty to drink-driving following the incident in Malibu, California, on 28 July.

Gibson staying sober since arrest
11 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson avoids media at screening
25 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Rob Reiner attacks Gibson's films
26 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson told to attend AA meetings
18 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Gibson admits anti-Jewish remarks
01 Aug 06 |  Entertainment

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