Mel Gibson breaks silence on domestic violence scandal

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mel Gibson has broken his silence on his damaging domestic violence scandal, calling the leak of angry personal phone calls with his then-girlfriend last year a “personal betrayal.”

Actor Mel Gibson arrives at Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The Oscar-winning director of “Braveheart” described the leaked tapes, in which Gibson was heard ranting, swearing and threatening Russian girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, “terribly humiliating and painful for my family.”

Gibson added that he did not care if he ever acted again.

“I’ve never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality -- period,” Gibson told Hollywood journalist Allison Hope Weiner in a lengthy interview for website Deadline Hollywood on Friday.

Gibson last month pleaded no contest to a charge of hitting Grigorieva, the mother of his baby daughter, as their relationship broke down in early 2010.

He was sentenced to three years probation, a year of counseling and community service.

In his first public comments on the saga, Gibson said the tapes of phone calls leaked a year ago were edited, adding; “It’s one terribly, awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn’t represent what I truly believe or how I’ve treated people my entire life.”

“Who anticipates being recorded? ... Who could anticipate such a personal betrayal?” Gibson said.

Gibson’s longtime manager left him, his movie “The Beaver” was delayed for months, and actors on the sequel to comedy “Hangover 2” refused to work with him because of the fall-out of the sexist and racist remarks on the tapes.

They were leaked to the media as Gibson was trying to make an acting comeback after making vicious anti-Semitic remarks during a 2006 drunken driving arrest, and the end of his 28-year marriage.

The delayed movie “The Beaver”, in which Gibson plays a depressed husband who communicates through a beaver hand puppet, is now to be released in the United States on May 6.

But Gibson seemed unconcerned by what movie-goers would think of him as an actor now.

“I don’t care if I don’t act anymore,” he said. “I could easily not act again. It’s not a problem. I’m going to do something now because I want to do it and because it’s fun.”

Gibson said he was working on a “total bodice-ripping swashbuckling” comedy movie project in which he hoped to take a supporting role.

Actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Foster were among the few Hollywood stars to publicly defend Gibson at the height of the Grigorieva scandal last year.

Gibson was not surprised at the lack of support.

“Why would anyone want to speak publicly and drag themselves through this crap? ... Very many people are supportive of course, but you find out who your friends are.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Dan Whitcomb