ADL: 'Passion' Secrecy Pact 'Selectively Applied'
08/29/03
Staff Writer
Mel Gibson and his Icon Productions for weeks have been requiring viewers of his controversial film "The Passion" to sign a confidentiality agreement barring them from talking about the still-unfinished product. That hasn't stopped the select group (mostly supportive Evangelicals, conservative Catholics and media personalities) from praising the film about the suffering and death of Jesus and revealing details in newspapers and on radio, television and the Internet. But now some Houston folks are demanding that the Anti-Defamation League apologize to Gibson for breaching that agreement. ADL issued a press release warning "The Passion" will fuel anti-Semitism after its interfaith director attended a Houston screening two weeks ago. "We call on ... the ADL to apologize to [Gibson] for what we believe to be a breach of the clear understanding and agreement to maintain confidentiality," demanded 25 Houstonians, including Leo Linbeck Jr., who organized an interfaith screening on Aug. 8. The group said ADL's serious concerns "do not justify such behavior, which only serves to create mistrust and confrontation." But ADL national director Abraham Foxman rejected the demand in an Aug. 22 written response. Foxman noted in the letter that Gibson ignored months of private ADL requests to work with the "Lethal Weapon" star and qualified Catholic scholars to minimize anti-Jewish stereotypes. Further, Foxman argued that with Icon allowing many viewers to publicly praise the film, "any confidentiality agreement that is so selectively applied carries no moral force."
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