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Threats Get Mel Gibson Removed As Co-Grand Marshal From The Largest Mardi Gras Parade

It's 2023 and Mel Gibson's controversial past continues to haunt him, with officials in New Orleans reportedly dropping the actor and Oscar-winning filmmaker from his role as co-Grand Marshal in the largest parade at Mardi Gras — the Krewe of Endymion — following threats against the event and pushback from the local Jewish community. Gibson's ouster came just 16 hours after officials announced he would join Tulane University football coach Willie Fritz as co-Grand Marshal (via WVUE). 

"The Krewe of Endymion has received significant feedback about our grand marshal announcement," Endymion president Dan Kelly said in a statement. "Some of this commentary included threats that cause us great concern. In the best interest of the safety of our riders, special guests and everyone that welcomes us on the streets, Mel Gibson will not ride as a co-Grand Marshal for our 2023 parade."

According to local reports, Gibson was announced as a Mardi Gras participant on Saturday night, January 7, at Endymion's annual coronation ball (via 4WWL). He was set to lead the Carnival parade and its riding members through New Orleans' Mid-City neighborhood on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday, with officials expecting more than 40,000 residents to show up (via Endymion.org). While the exact nature of the threats made against the Krewe of Endymion have not been revealed, they came amid a public outcry against the co-Grand Marshal decision from the local Jewish community, which has not forgiven Gibson's previous words and actions.

Gibson's 'history of making antisemitic, racist and misogynistic slurs' likely led to Mardi Gras hate, say Jewish groups

In a joint statement, local Jewish leaders in New Orleans pointed to Mel Gibson's "long history of making anti-Semitic, racist and misogynistic slurs" as the most likely explanation for what prompted the parade threats and anger from the public. Members of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the Greater New Orleans Clergy Council, and the Jewish Community Relations Council all came together to issue the joint statement on Sunday, January 8.

"While the actor has made half-hearted attempts to apologize for his remarks over the years," the groups' statement noted, "there is still a great deal of pain associated with his name and deep wounds in the Jewish community from those controversies, which may never heal."

Gibson, 67, came under fire in 2006 for making anti-Semitic comments during a widely publicized DUI arrest. According to the police report, Gibson said "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" and "f***ing Jews" (via CBS News). The "Braveheart" and "Passion of the Christ" director has also been accused of saying the Holocaust was "mostly a lot of horses**t" and allegedly talking about killing his former girlfriend (via CNN). 

"We hope the Endymion leadership will take the opportunity to learn why the selection of Mel Gibson caused such pain and disappointment to the Jewish community as well as the marginalized communities he has harmed in the past," said the Jewish groups. "Mardi Gras is a celebration of the spirit of New Orleans. Endymion choosing a Grand Marshal with a strong record of hatred sent the wrong message about the event."