It all began when Eszterhas accused Gibson of sabotaging a planned film about a famous 2BC Jewish revolt for anti-Semitic reasons. In an explosive nine-page letter posted by The Wrap, Eszterhas claims his former collaborator of using the project to "deflect continuing charges of anti-Semitism which have dogged you, charges which have crippled your career." He also cited occasions where Gibson threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, Oksana Gregorieva.
"I've come to the conclusion that the reason you won't make The Maccabees is the ugliest one possible. You hate Jews," Eszterhas wrote. "You continually call Jews 'Hebes' and 'oven-dodgers' and 'Jewboys.'
Eszterhas said Gibson had told him the Holocaust was "mostly a lot of horsesh*t" and that his intention of making The Maccabees was "to convert the Jews to Christianity." Eszterhas continues saying, "You were raving about Oksana even after you'd reached a custody agreement over your daughter, Luci. And then you were even more explicit about your threat: 'I'm going to kill her! I'm going to have her killed!' You said you'd become friends with two FBI agents and they were going to help you kill her."
Gibson later issued a statement via The Wrap's rival blog, Deadline, in which he accused the screenwriter of delivering a substandard script and said "the great majority" of the accusations made against him were ”utter fabrications."
"I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money, if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter. I guess you only has a problem with me after Warner Bros. rejected your script."
Gibson continues, "Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced eight years ago. I absolutely want to make this movie. It's just that neither Warner Bros. nor I want to make this movie based on your script."
"Honestly, Joe, not only was the script delivered later than you promised, both Warner Bros. and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor."
Gibson did admit to a "passionate" altercation with Eszterhas , which he apologized for. "I will acknowledge like most creative people I am passionate and intense. I was very frustrated that when you arrived at my home at the expense of both Warner Bros. and myself, you hadn't written a single word of a script or even an outline after 15 months of research, meetings, discussions and the outpouring of my heartfelt vision for this story. I did react more strongly than I should have. I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find offensive."
Where do you stand? Is Eszterhas using Gibson's tarnished image as an easy target to bad mouth him or does Gibson have a point in essentially saying Eszterhas' substandard script was the impetus for the accusatory letter?