The Corner

Re: Mel’s Profit

I knew these emails were coming:

Jonah,

What business is it of anyone’s what Mel Gibson does with the profit from a movie he financed and made? Why does the fact that it is a religious movie give you, or anyone else, the license to be concerned about the movie’s profits? And why does the AMOUNT of profit dictate the necessity for us all to discuss what he does with the money? If he only made, say $75 million, would you be concerned? By the way, where did Spielberg’s profits for Schindler’s List go? I understand that he did found Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, a non profit organization after the movie came out. But did he pocket most of the profit? If not, good for him, but I’ve searched the internet and don’t see that topic ever discussed (except where a news story said that Schindler’s wife wanted 6%).

Mel Gibson has given significant portions of his earnings to his religious cause long before his movie was made.

I agree with you most of the time, and maybe I’ve just had too much coffee, but that post just flew all over me.

ME: I’m going to respond at length in the hope of anticipating further emails on this point.

It’s funny, we can go on for weeks in the Corner judging what various liberals and/or celebrities do and say without anyone saying “Why is that your business?” But, every now and then, if someone turns their attention on what a conservative icon does, we get the “who’s buisness is it?” complaints (the last time for me, I think, was when I said some negative things about Dick Grasso). Well, I’m sorry, it’s all of our business. I’ve addressed this point so many times I don’t want to repeat myself. But look at it this way: If you are opposed to government interference in the private sector you need to be in favor of increased vigilence by the private sector. The government has absolutely no business whatsoever with the issue of what Mel Gibson does with his money. But we live in a society too. Shaming, judging, encouraging, applauding, celebrating the actions of public figures is how culture gets made.

I don’t think Christina Aguilera should be forced by the feds to stop acting like a tramp, but I do think it’s entirely legitimate for me and others to criticize her for acting like such a frat house throw rug. I don’t think I have the right to make Mel Gibson do anything. But I have every right to have opinions about the guy and, last time I checked, I have the right to voice those opinions. Indeed, that’s what I get paid to do.

As for Spielberg, my recollection is that he did give away all of the profits for the simple reason that a mega-millionaire getting really rich off the Holocaust is a bad look, especially for a guy named Spielberg. If I’m wrong on that, fine. But that doesn’t really affect my point, does it?

As for the point about the “AMOUNT” being the issue, fair enough. But I think most reasonable people know what I’m getting at (and most email has been in agreement with me). No, if he made $3 million in profit, I wouldn’t be raising the issue. He took serious risks and who knows what kind of price he’s yet to pay at the hands of Hollywood etc. But this game can be played in reverse. What if he made $3 billion from a movie about the Crucifixion? Would this reader still be untroubled by it if Gibson did nothing with the money?

By the way, I don’t mean to pick on this reader, it’s just that I’m getting and will get lots of email on this point.

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