The Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas has accused Mel Gibson of sabotaging the production of a film based on the story of the Jewish Maccabees, after Warner Bros. decided to cancel the project.
Eszterhas wrote an extensive letter accusing Gibson, who was expected to direct the film, of prolonged and unabashed anti-Semitism. "I've come to the conclusion that the reason you won't make The Maccabees is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews," he wrote.
Eszterhas alleged that Gibson had told him the Holocaust was mostly a lot of trash and that his intention in making The Maccabees was "to convert the Jews to Christianity."
"You said the Torah made reference to the sacrifice of Christian babies and infants,” Esterhas asserted. “When I told you that you were confusing the Torah with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, ... you insisted 'it's in the Torah - it's in there!' (It isn't)."
The letter goes on to say that Gibson called Jews “Hebes,” “oven-dodgers” and “Jewboys.”
Eszterhas also stated that Gibson used the project in order "to deflect continuing charges of antisemitism which have dogged you, charges which have crippled your career."
In response, Gibson wrote a letter claiming that Eszterhas's script was substandard and lacked "a sense of triumph." He also claimed that the majority of the accusations made against him were “utter fabrications.”
"Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced eight years ago," he said. "I absolutely want to make this movie; it's just that neither Warner Brothers nor I want to make this movie based on your script.”
Last year, the Jewish community expressed dismay at Gibson’s intentions of directing a film about the heroism of the Maccabees. In 2006 Gibson was arrested for drunk driving and went on a rank of anti-Semitic outbursts. He also directed the film, The Passion of the Christ, which portrays the Jews in an extremely unfavorable manner.