Actor-director Mel Gibson has rejected claims by Stranger Things star Winona Ryder that he made anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks in front of her, calling her claim “100 percent untrue.”
In a profile for The Sunday Times, Ryder accused Gibson of making bigoted remarks to her and her friend about Jews and homosexuals while at a party years ago. “We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends,” she told the reporter from the Telegraph. “And 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?’”
A spokesperson for Mel Gibson said in a statement to Variety that Ryder’s claims were fabricated. “This is 100% untrue. She lied about it over a decade ago, when she talked to the press, and she’s lying about it now.”
According to Ryder, Gibson also later “tried” to apologize to her about his alleged comments, something his representatives also insist was a lie.
“She lied about him trying to apologize to her back then,” the representative said. “He did reach out to her, many years ago, to confront her about her lies and she refused to address it with him.”
Gibson has long proved a controversial figure in Hollywood. In 2006, the Lethal Weapon star and Hacksaw Ridge director was arrested for drunk driving and allegedly asked the police officer whether he was Jewish, declaring that the “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Ryder, meanwhile, also used her interview in The Sunday Times to speak out about the antisemitism she has faced in Hollywood, which included getting turned down for a role for looking “too Jewish.”
“I have [experienced antisemitism]… in interesting ways. There are times when people have said, ‘Wait, you’re Jewish? But you’re so pretty!” said Ryder. “There was a movie that I was up for a long time ago, it was a period piece, and the studio head, who was Jewish, said I looked ‘too Jewish’ to be in a blue-blooded family.”