Bart doubts Gibson will suffer*


In his weekly column, Variety Editor Peter Bart faults last week's New York Times story by Sharon Waxman in which studio heads say (not for attribution) that many won't work with Mel Gibson because of The Passion of the Christ.

Surely The New York Times exercised faulty editorial judgment in running anonymous quotes from "the chairmen of two major studios" declaring that Gibson would be blacklisted at their companies. In running these quotes, The Times has itself encouraged blacklisting - the policy of running anonymous attack quotes in itself is wrong-headed. Personally, I don't think Gibson's career will suffer in any way from his film. Hollywood loves blockbusters, irrespective of their supposed message.

Also in Variety, Gabriel Snyder questions whether the Waxman story violated NYT rules on anonymous sourcing. A newspaper spokesman assures Snyder it did not: "The comments are from an unidentified source about that source's own intentions. They are not about the character or behavior of Mel Gibson."

And at Movie City News, Editor-in-chief David Poland felt moved to write a note to readers explaining that the site is not anti-Gibson. He also takes a swipe at New York Times coverage of the film.

Meanwhile, NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller is said to have been in town all weekend making the rounds of Hollywood parties. *(Update: If so, he can't be happy about this... Waxman's Oscars wrapup story today says that Renee Zellweger was sitting next to Miramax mogul Bob Weinstein and kissed him when her name was announced. Hollywood tongues are wagging that it was not Bob but Zellweger's manager John Carrabino; the actress even thanked him by name from the stage. A correction is expected tomorrow.)

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