Watch CBS News

Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas Accuses Mel Gibson Of Anti-Semitism

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The future of a film about ancient Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee may be close to flickering out.

Warner Bros. spokesman Paul McGuire said Friday the studio is "analyzing what to do with the project."

The film about the biblical hero was to be a collaboration between producer Mel Gibson and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas. After the studio rejected Eszterhas' script, he accused Gibson of anti-Semitism in a letter published online.

Gibson denied the screenwriter's claims and called them "utter fabrications." He also reportedly called the submitted script "substandard."

In 2006, Gibson was arrested for drunken driving. A leaked arrest report revealed he used anti-Semitic and sexist slurs.

The Eszterhas allegations and Gibson's history prompted Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to call for "Warner Brothers (or any other studio) to permanently shelve the Maccabee project as long as Mel Gibson is associated with the film."

The Maccabees' unlikely victory over those who would repress Jewish religious freedoms is celebrated on Chanukah, the Jewish festival of light.

Eszterhas' credits include "Basic Instinct," "Jagged Edge," "Flashdance" and "Showgirls."

In an interview with "The Today Show," Eszterhas said his 15-year-old son secretly recorded Gibson during a "violent harangue" and is considering releasing it to prove his story is true. Said Eszterhaus, "I don't like to be called a liar."

Eszterhas said the alleged tape contains Gibson making anti-Semitic remarks as well as threats against the actor's ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. The screenwriter also alleged Gibson shared with the 15-year-old a "pornographic scenario that I could only call sexual butchery that he fantasized in terms of Oksana."

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.