Mel Gibson and Shia LaBeouf’s Rothchild Movie Seems Like a Very Bad Idea

Gibson is set to star alongside Shia LaBeouf in a satire of the one percent.

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The formerly disgraced Mel Gibson currently has a number of projects on the docket, including a movie called Fatman, in which he’ll play Santa Claus, and multiple films in which he’ll portray a member of law enforcement (an ex-cop, a CIA agent). But today, Deadline reported that Gibson will star alongside Shia LaBeouf in Rothchild, a satire focusing on the wealthy in New York. The script, written by John Patton Ford, ended up on the Blacklist in 2014, and focuses on “charismatic outsider” Becket Rothchild (LaBeouf), who tries to work his way back into the good graces of his super rich family, including a character named “Whitelaw” (Gibson).

Gibson, in addition to his arrest for domestic violence, has a history of making anti-Semitic remarks. When the actor was arrested for drunk driving in 2006, he let forth a string of slurs, saying “F***ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” (he also notably referred to one of the arresting officers as “sugar tits”). In 2016, he told Variety that it was “really unfair” and “annoying” that people hadn’t forgotten his comments; that same year, Glenn Beck was interviewed by The Daily Beast, saying that Gibson had told him “Jewish people” had stolen a copy of The Passion of the Christ and used it to attack him. Gibson’s father, writer Hutton Gibson, is a famous Holocaust denier (he describes the event as “fiction”) who claims that the formation of the Second Vatican Council was ”a Masonic plot backed by the Jews.”

And thus it’s darkly fitting to see Gibson starring in Rothchild, a film quite obviously based on the Rothschild banking family, the subject of several widespread anti-Semitic conspiracies. The Rothschilds became enormously wealthy through banking in the 1700s, and they were first accused of using ill-gotten knowledge to accrue wealth in 1846 (via a pamphlet signed “Satan”); in the years since, people have claimed their abilities to do everything from controlling the weather to banking for the Vatican to running the entire world. Rothschild conspiracies, which align with several anti-Semitic theories about secretive Jewish power, are popular on YouTube, 4chan, and other popular sites for the alt-right. It seems Gibson has finally found the perfect comeback role.

The project has not been well-received.