Actor and director allegedly verbally abused female News Corp photographer outside cinema, but his publicist calls account a ‘fabrication’
On Monday morning, Australian media outlets reported that the Oscar-winning actor and director had allegedly shoved, spat and shouted at News Corp Australia photographer Kristi Miller as she photographed him leaving the Palace Verona cinema in Paddington with his girlfriend, the US equestrian vaulter Rosalind Ross.
Miller told the Daily Telegraph, for whom she works: “I took a photo of Mel and his girlfriend and when I turned around he shoved my back really hard ... It shocked me because I wasn’t expecting it. I don’t know if it was his hands or elbow.”
But Gibson’s publicist Alan Nierob denied there had been any physical contact.
“Basically Mr Gibson and his friend were being harrassed by this photographer and he asked her repeatedly to stop, which she did not,” he told Guardian Australia. “There was never any physical contact whatsoever and the story being told by her is a complete fabrication of the truth.”
Nierob did not comment on Miller’s account that Gibson verbally abused her.
“He was spitting in my face as he was yelling at me, calling me a dog, saying I’m not even a human being and I will go to hell,” she told the Daily Telegraph. According to Miller, Ross calmed her partner and apologised to Miller for the outburst.
The couple had been watching David Oelhoffen’s 2014 film Far From Men, scored by Bad Seeds Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and mingled afterwards with crowds attending a screening for the Australian Israeli film festival at the same cinema.
Surry Hills police confirmed they were investigating reports that a man “became involved in an altercation with a photographer outside a cinema on Oxford Street” at 6.20pm on Sunday.
Gibson is in Australia to start work on Hacksaw Ridge, his fifth directorial outing, which will star Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss, a Christian conscientious objector during the second world war. Filming begins in New South Wales in September.
On Thursday night, the actor attended the Australian premiere of Matilda the Musical with Ross. Lucia, his five-year-old daughter from a brief relationship with Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva, is also in Sydney on her first trip to Australia.
Gibson and Grigorieva split before Lucia’s birth in 2010 but when she was eight months old, a tape emerged of Gibson’s sexist and racist rant at her mother.
In 2006, during an arrest for drink driving in Los Angeles, Gibson issued an antisemitic tirade against his arresting officer. He subsequently apologised for his “despicable” comments and pleaded guilty to the drink-driving charge, for which he was sentenced to three years probation and a series of self-help meetings.
This article was written by Nancy Groves, for theguardian.com on Monday 24th August 2015 04.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010