Personally, I couldn’t care less about Mel Gibson’s bigoted, drunken tirades the other night. Aside from "Gallipoli," I’ve never really enjoyed any of his flicks and, prior to his outburst, have never really counted Gibson among my favorite actors. That said, Mel’s motor mouth has caused some interesting image and reputation challenges worth discussing.
First, there’s the brand of "Mel." Will he survive or not? Knowing how today’s society works, I think Mel will eventually bounce back and still be a box office star. It may take years, and lots of groveling by Mel, but adoring fans will forgive and forget.
More intriguing in my mind, though, is the image impact on Mel’s production company, Icon, and the management firm that represents him. Gibson’s Icon Productions has become a powerhouse in Hollywood and has the financial wherewithal to act independently of the major motion picture studios. So, will Icon be able to continue making blockbusters regardless of Mel’s mistake? I don’t think so. At least not for now. I think that stars, large and little, will refuse to act in a Gibson movie out of principle. And, I believe theatre chains will refuse to show his flicks for the same reason. So, my guess is that Icon will go dark for some time.
As for International Creative Management, which has managed Mel’s career for 17 years, my guess is they’ll cave in to pressure if their other major stars and the Hollywood community in general pressure them to dump Gibson.
Right now, Mel’s mouth has become a lethal weapon. I think it’ll be years before we see this braveheart, but foolish mind, regain his previous luster.