Screenwriter of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" Accuses Gibson of Perpetrating Deception and Fraud

(Los Angeles- Associated Press) A screenwriter has sued Mel Gibson and his production company, claiming he was misled by the actor-director into accepting a small payment for writing "The Passion of the Christ," and was refused extra money when the film became a blockbuster.

Benedict Fitzgerald claims that when he was asked to write a script about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Gibson told him the movie would cost between $4 million to $7 million, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Superior Court. Fitzgerald also alleged Gibson promised he wouldn't receive any money from the film and any profit would be distributed to people who worked on it.

Gibson stated he didn't want "money on the back of what he considered a personal gift to his (Roman Catholic) faith," the lawsuit said.

Fitzgerald, who shared screenwriting credits with Gibson, claimed he agreed to "a salary substantially less than what he would have taken had he known the true budget for the film," which the lawsuit claimed had an estimated budget of $25 million to $50 million. The 2004 movie went on to gross several hundred million dollars.The lawsuit doesn't specify how much Fitzgerald was paid.An after-hours call to a publicist for Gibson, 52, wasn't immediately returned.

The lawsuit claims fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and seeks unspecified damages. It also names Gibson's Icon Productions LLC as a defendant.
Related story from CNN.com Gibson: 'I am not an anti-Semite.' Actor in rehab after arrest on suspicion of DUI. Tuesday, August 1, 2006;

Actor Mel Gibson on Tuesday admitted making anti-Semitic remarks during his drunken driving arrest and appealed to the Jewish community to help him recover from his alcohol addiction.

The website TMZ reported that Gibson's alleged remarks included: "(Expletive) Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

The Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred, issued a statement branding Gibson an anti-Semite.
"Mel Gibson's apology is unremorseful and insufficient. It's not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.
Gibson faced accusations of anti-Semitism during the publicity storm that surrounded his 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ." Foxman wrote that Gibson's "tirade finally reveals his true self" and shows his previous claims "that he is such a tolerant, loving person, were a sham."

Foxman added, "We would hope that Hollywood now would realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from this anti-Semite."

No comments:

Post a Comment