Winona Ryder offered new details about an encounter with Mel Gibson in which she alleges that the “Braveheart” star made homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks, claiming that he made the comments at a party in the 1990s.
The actress has accused Gibson of making bigoted comments in her presence for years, but those allegations resurfaced in a recent interview with the Sunday Times. Gibson, through a representative, hit back at those charges, calling them “100% untrue” and saying that Ryder was lying and had lied about their encounter for decades. Now, Ryder is sticking by her story and providing more context for the alleged encounter.
“I believe in redemption and forgiveness and hope that Mr. Gibson has found a healthy way to deal with his demons, but I am not one of them,” she said in a statement to Variety. “Around 1996, my friend Kevyn Aucoin and I were on the receiving end of his hateful words. It is a painful and vivid memory for me. Only by accepting responsibility for our behavior in this life, can we make amends and truly respect each other, and I wish him well on this lifelong journey.”
Aucoin, an openly gay American make-up artist whose celebrity clients included Whitney Houston and Cher, died in 2002. Ryder told the Telegraph she was at a crowded party when she ran into Gibson.
“Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?’ And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?,'” Ryder said. The actress has previously talked about this encounter publicly, including in a 2010 GQ profile.
Ryder claimed that Gibson later “tried” to apologize to her about his comments, which Gibson’s spokesperson says never happened. Instead, he claims that Gibson reached out to Ryder “…many years ago, to confront her about her lies and she refused to address it with him.”
Gibson ignited a major controversy when he made anti-Semitic remarks while being arrested in 2006 for a DUI. He told the arresting officer that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!” Gibson also made racist remarks to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva during a fight, a tape of which was leaked to the press in 2010, and he made homophobic remarks in a 1991 interview with El País, which he later apologized for.
Gibson, who has struggled with substance abuse issues, addressed his remarks to the police in a 2016 interview with Variety.
“It was an unfortunate incident,” he said. “I was loaded and angry and arrested. I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then it was made public by him for profit, and by members of — we’ll call it the press. So, not fair. I guess as who I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever.”