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Disney’s Mad Mel Dilemma

Amid all the sturm und drang over the drunken, anti-semetic MELtdown in Malibu last weekend, Disney, which is supposed to distribute Mel Gibson’s next movie, “Apocalypto,” has been conspicuously silent, according to the L.A. Times. The same company that opted against releasing Michael Moore’s incendiary documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” must now decide what to do with another controversial film.

As offensive as Gibson’s tirade was, Disney might be in a forgiving mood. Not because of Gibson’s two apologies, the first of which was pathetic and the second of which reeked of desperation and damage control. Disney might distribute the film anyway because of a far more compelling number: $611 million. That’s how much his controversial “The Passion of the Christ” raked in worldwide. Disney could be banking on the public’s propensity to eventually forgive or forget. After all, directors Roman Polanki and Woody Allen came back from high-profile scandals.

Right now, though, just days after Gibson’s arrest, during which he blamed the Jews for “all the wars in the world,” it’s hard to imagine any company that cares about its reputation wanting to get anywhere near Mad Max. As for “Apocalypto,” Gibson has described the main character as someone who “has to overcome tremendous odds to preserve what he values most.” Sounds like Gibson’s plight. Well, minus the Hollywood ending.

What do you think Disney should do?

CS