Alicia Ivonne Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American Studies at Cal State, Northridge, asked Mel Gibson yesterday night if he’d done his homework on ancient Mayan culture before filming “Apocalypto.” Clearly it was a rhetorical question rife with opportunities to set the proverbial record straight but it was an opportunity not taken by Gibson. He reportedly told Dr. Estrada, “Lady, fuck off.”
I’m glad somebody finally took Gibson to task for the historically inaccurate depiction of “blood-thirsty” Mayans (among other things). Now, of course, we all know about “filmic license” but it seems clear to me that portraying, say, Athenians as pedophiles and misogynists would be missing the point as much as painting the Maya as a blood-and-gore civilization; which is what makes Gibson’s poetic license not only historically inaccurate but abhorrent for the type of Amerindian violence that it reproduces.
When you consider the Maya legacy, as one of the greatest world civilizations, in relation to the ignorance that abounds about the other Américas, an ignorance that Mr. Gibson seems bent on reproducing, then Dr. Estrada should not only be commended, but also given a public opportunity to let Gibson know why he is so damn ignorant.
Here is the complete text from the SF Gate: Daily Dish:
Gibson Loses His Temper Over Professor’s Comments
Mel Gibson has been caught up in a new controversy after telling an Central American Studies professor to “[bleep] off” during a tense press conference.
The movie mogul, who made headlines last summer for anti-Semitic comments he made during a drunk driving arrest, was addressing a film class at Cal State University at Northridge Thursday night when the professor questioned the accuracy of his “Apocalypto” film.
Alicia Estrada asked Gibson if he had read about the Mayan culture before shooting the controversial film, suggesting that some of the bloodthirsty, sacrificial scenes in the film were both wrong and racist.
According to TMZ.com, Gibson suddenly exploded in anger, responding, “Lady, [bleep] off.”
Gibson also became angry when members of the Mayan community protested on how they were portrayed in the film during the lecture. They were escorted out of the room.
See anthropologist Traci Arden’s reaction to the film last year here.