LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning director and actor Mel Gibson, who caused a media storm four years ago over an anti-Semitic statement, is again making headlines for using an apparent racial slur in an argument with his ex-girlfriend.
Celebrity news website Radaronline.com Thursday published excerpts of an audiotape of Gibson telling Oksana Grigorieva, whom “The Passion of the Christ” director is battling in court, that they way she is dressed made her look like a “pig in heat.”
“If you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault,” Radaronline reported Gibson as shouting at Grigorieva during an argument she taped, apparently using an expression that is deeply insulting to African Americans.
Radaronline, which published the excerpt with the three asterisks, claims to have listened to the tape. A representative for the website was not immediately available for further comment.
A spokesman for Gibson declined to comment due to pending litigation between the actor and his ex-girlfriend, and Gibson’s lawyer also was unavailable for comment.
Radaronline.com is relatively new to celebrity news when compared to rivals such as People magazine, Us Weekly or even rival website TMZ.com. Often its stories come from unnamed sources who say they are close to the stars, but it was among the first fan sites to accurately report on the birth of Gibson’s and Grigorieva’s baby.
Paul Talbert, who is unaffiliated with the case and is a partner with New York matrimonial law firm, Chemtob Moss Forman & Talbert, said it is common for one or another party to tape a conversation with an ex-spouse or partner during a child custody case, especially if one party feels threatened.
“If this tape is genuine, you can see how nasty these things can get,” Talbert said.
Gibson, 54, and the Russian-born singer were reported in April to have split up, five months after the birth of their daughter Lucia.
The Oscar-winning actor and director of “Braveheart” and “The Passion of the Christ” had gone public with their romance shortly after he filed for divorce in April 2009 from his wife Robyn after nearly 30 years of marriage.
At the time, friends said the split was amicable and that the pair had simply drifted apart.
But late last month, the break-up took a bitter turn with reports that Grigorieva, 40, had obtained a restraining order against Gibson, and she claimed he had hit her in the face and knocked out two of her teeth during an argument in January.
Gibson filed a counter claim to prevent her from speaking publicly about the case and about an agreement reached earlier in private on custody, visitation rights and financial support for their daughter.
The actor’s lawyer Stephen Kolodny, last week told celebrity website TMZ.com, which also reported of the tape’s existence Thursday, that Grigorieva made her claims after having second thoughts about the agreement she had signed.
Gibson, a staunch Catholic, made headlines worldwide in 2006 for a drunk driving arrest in Malibu during which he launched into an anti-Semitic tirade that shocked Hollywood.
Gibson was quoted as telling the arresting officer that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
He subsequently apologized for what he called “despicable behavior” and sought counseling. He was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to attend an alcohol recovery program. His criminal record was cleared in October 2009.
Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Storey