Winona Ryder offered new details about an encounter with Mel Gibson in which she alleges that the “Braveheart” star made homophobic and anti-Semitic comments, claiming she made the comments at a party in the 1990s.
The actress has accused Gibson of making bigoted comments in her presence for years, but those allegations reappeared in a recent interview with the Sunday Times. Gibson, through a representative, responded to those charges, calling them “100% false” and saying that Ryder was lying and had lied about their encounter for decades. Now Ryder sticks to her story and provides more context for the alleged encounter.
“I believe in redemption and forgiveness and I hope that Mr. Gibson has found a healthy way to deal with his demons, but I am not one of them,” he said in a statement to Variety. “Around 1996, my friend Kevyn Aucoin and I received his words of hatred. It is a painful and vivid memory for me. Only by accepting responsibility for our behavior in this life can we make peace and respect each other, and I wish him well on this lifetime journey. “
Aucoin, an openly gay American makeup artist whose famous clients included Whitney Houston and Cher, died in 2002. Ryder told the Telegraph that he was at a crowded party when he met Gibson.
“Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we are all talking and he said to my friend, who is gay, ‘Oh wait, am I going to get AIDS?’ And then something came up about the Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not a furnace evader, are you?’ Ryder said. The actress has previously spoken about this encounter publicly, including on a 2010 GQ profile.
Ryder claimed that Gibson then “tried” to apologize to her for her comments, which Gibson’s spokesperson says never happened. Instead, he claims that Gibson contacted Ryder “… many years ago, to confront her for her lies and refused to speak to him.”
Gibson sparked controversy when he made anti-Semitic comments while he was arrested in 2006 for a DUI. He told the arresting officer that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!” Gibson also made racist remarks to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during a fight, a tape of which was leaked to the press in 2010, and made homophobic remarks in a 1991 interview with El Pais, for which he later apologized.
Gibson, who has struggled with substance abuse problems, addressed his comments to police in a 2016 interview with Variety.
“It was an unfortunate incident,” he said. “He was loaded, angry and arrested. I was illegally searched by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then he made it public for profit, and by members of … we’ll call it the press. So it’s not fair. I guess as I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever. “