Mel Gibson's History With Antisemitism Has Many Angered He's a Playing Debauched Santa Claus

Throw Mel Gibson in a red Santa Claus suit all you want, but his return to the big screen might not be so jolly.

The actor appeared in the trailer on Thursday for his latest film, Fatman, in which he stars as a debauched, pistol-toting, whiskey-shooting Chris Cringle. The trailer was met with instant anger from outraged social media users who hadn't forgotten his anti-Semitic tirade from nearly two decades ago.

"Reminder that Mel Gibson is an antisemitic, anti-Black bigot who physically assaulted his girlfriend. He blamed Jews for 'all the wars in the world.' He called Winona Ryder an 'oven dodger.' Santa Claus doesn't exist. Gibson's career renaissance shouldn't either," one person wrote on Twitter.

Another wrote: "When people say "cancel culture is real," remind them of the time that raging misogynist and anti-Semite Mel Gibson got paid millions of dollars to play Santa Claus."

Gibson was largely considered one of America's most beloved actors after starring in blockbusters like Braveheart and The Patriot before his career came toppling down in 2006 when he was arrested in California for drunk driving. Transcripts of his encounter with police revealed Gibson spewed a mouthful of racist and antisemitic language, making wild claims like Jews were "responsible for all the wars in the world."

He issued an apology for his "vitriolic and harmful words" to the Jewish community later that same year.

"Every human being is God's child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith," Gibson wrote in an open letter. "I'm not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.

Mel Gibson's Antisemitic History Has Many Angered
Mel Gibson attends The Art Of Elysium's 12th Annual Celebration - Heaven held on January 05, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

However, scrutiny towards Gibson only continued to escalate after he was entangled in a domestic abuse investigation with his ex-girlfriend and daughter's mother, Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva, in 2010. At the height of that drama, audiotapes were leaked to the press, in which Gibson was heard screaming obscenities, using the n-word and making comments that Grigorieva deserved to be raped.

While he went under the radar during much of the long messy custody battle with Grigorieva, Gibson has slowly but surely resurfacing in Hollywood. In 2018 he appeared in the dark comedy Rothchild alongside Shia LaBeouf. He is also expected to direct the remake of Wild Bunch for Warner Bros. in the near future. And while it seems that Hollywood has since forgiven Gibson for his indiscretions, many members of the public haven't.

"Mel Gibson is trending. Reminder, he punched his girlfriend in the face, broke her nose and knocked out her teeth. But movie...." one person tweeted following the announcement of Fatman.

"I seem to remember Mel Gibson telling his girlfriend he hopes she gets raped by a pack of 'N*ggers.' I won't be watching his new film," wrote another.

Billed as a dark-action comedy, Gibson stars in Fatman as a brooding and down-on-his-luck Santa. His business is in a decline, the children simply aren't believing anymore, so what does he do? He starts working with the U.S. military. All the while, there's a bounty on his head charged by a 12-year-old kid that receives a lump of coal for Christmas. So when Santa's not helping the government, he's fighting an assassin played by Walton Goggins.

"I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I've lost my influence," Gibson says as old Saint Nick in the trailer. "All I have is a loathing for a world that's forgotten."

Fatman is set to hit select theaters on November 13 with a digital release slated for November 17.