Peggy Noonan, a Catholic journalist, asked Gibson "You're going to have to go on record. The Holocaust happened, right?" According to The New York Post, Gibson responded:
"I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."
Why is this a problematic response? Because not once does Gibson actually acknowledge that the Holocaust occurred - not once does he state that the Nazis tried to exterminate the Jews because they were Jews. Instead, he uses some fancy footwork that is common among sophisticated Holocaust Deniers. David Bernstein explains:
Holocaust deniers, at least the sophisticated ones, don't deny that Jews were sent to concentration camps, and don't deny that Jews suffered during the war, and perhaps suffered a bit disproportionately because they were Jews. What they do deny was that the Germans singled out the Jews for genocide, that millions of Jews were murdered, and that Jews were sent to death camps, not simply to labor or concentration camps. Nothing that Gibson said was inconsistent with the views of a Holocaust denier, and, indeed, as I pointed out, his statement sounds a lot like the stated views of the editor of the Holocaust-denying Journal of Historical Review. This all may be innocent on Gibson's part, and, if someone would ask him directly, "do you believe that the Germans murdered approximately six million Jews during World War II" and he said "yes" I would leave it at that. But given that he grew up in an anti-Semitic family, with a Holocaust-denying father, and has now asserted views that are very much consistent with the views of a Holocaust-denier, I can't say that my presumptions are with him at this point.
Gibson also said something else interesting during the interview:
Of his dad, Gibson says, "My dad taught me my faith, and I believe what he taught me. The man never lied to me in his life."
I wonder if that includes statements about the Jews and about the Holocaust?
Update: Read about Mel Gibson's run-in with the law — an anti-Semitic tirade during a drunk-driving arrest in which the police allegedly tried to cover things up.