The Passion Director and His 'Religious Fanatic' Dad; AS CHRIST FILM OPENS IN UK, ATTENTION TURNS TO MEL GIBSON'S OUTSPOKEN FATHER
Byline: JAMES LANGTON
WITH its scenes of shocking brutality and torture, Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ is one of the most talked about - and successful - films ever made.
But as the film goes on general release in Britain today, attention has focused on the controversial views of his father.
Hutton Gibson has publicly played down the Holocaust and claimed the Pope is involved in a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.
Now his son - whose film has been attacked for its allegedly anti-Jewish message - has come under pressure to distance himself from his ultraconservative father, who claims there were more Jews alive after the Second World War than before.
Living in a remote corner of West Virginia, few would pay attention to Hutton Gibson were he not the father of one of the world's biggest film stars.
Only days before The Passion opened in the US, the 84-year-old claimed in a radio interview that the attack on the World Trade Center was carried out by the US government using remotecontrolled aircraft.
As to the Nazi death camps, Gibson senior repeated his long-held belief that the death count of Jews was greatly exaggerated.
"It's all - maybe not all fiction - but most of it is," he said. "The Germans could not have cremated six million bodies because they did not have enough petrol."
The relationship between father and son came up in a TV interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC. "He's my father. Gotta leave it alone Diane," Gibson snapped.
Mel Gibson calls the Holocaust "an atrocity of monumental proportions" but has never said if he believes six million died.
But he also says of his father "the man has never lied to me in his life".
And there is no doubt of the influence of the elder Gibson on the younger.
Like his father, Mel is an ultraconservative Catholic who sticks to the centuries-old Tridentine Latin mass abandoned at the historic Second Vatican Council in 1962.
In a rare interview with the New York Times last year, Hutton Gibson explained that the Second Vatican Council was "a Masonic plot backed by the Jews" at creating a single world government, and called Pope John Paul II "Garrulous Karolus, the Koran Kisser". …