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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 March 2007, 15:25 GMT
Gibson in Apocalypto college row
A scene from Apocalypto
Apocalypto shows the decline of central America's Mayan civilisation
Mel Gibson was at the centre of uproar after a heated exchange at a screening of his controversial film Apocalypto.

The director was taking questions at a Los Angeles university when he swore at an academic who accused him of misrepresenting Mayan culture.

Assistant professor of central American studies Alicia Estrada was ejected from the event at California State University, Northridge.

But she has denied accusations that she was being disruptive.

"In no way was my question aggressive in the way that he responded to it," Ms Estrada told the Associated Press.

"These are questions that my peers, my colleagues, ask me every time I make a presentation. These are questions I pose to my students in the classroom."

Brutal scenes

Apocalypto depicts the decline of a Mayan kingdom and features brutal scenes of human sacrifice.

It was Gibson's first outing behind the camera since his 2004 religious epic, The Passion of the Christ, and earned three Oscar nominations.

Critics say the film depicts Mayans as savages.

His spokesman, Alan Nierob, said the professor was a "heckler" and was "rude and disruptive".

"It was a brief disruption to an otherwise interesting, stimulating event from our students' perspective," university spokesman John Chandler said, adding that Gibson had expressed regret that "things had gotten out of hand".

He said the interruption occurred 20 minutes into the event, when two audience members refused to give up the microphone after asking questions.

But Ms Estrada is demanding an apology, "not only to me, but to the Central American programme at CSUN, to the university and most importantly to the Mayan people and the Mayan community".


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