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Mel Gibson has been dropped from a Mardi Gras parade's lineup in New Orleans after organizers said they'd received "threats" and cited safety concerns.
The announcement was a quick reversal, coming just hours after the Krewe of Endymion, the group behind the largest Mardis Gras parade in New Orleans, had named him the co-grand marshal.
“The Krewe of Endymion has received significant feedback about our grand marshal announcement yesterday evening. Some of this commentary included threats that cause us great concern," said Dan Kelly, the krewe’s president, in a statement provided to CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans. “In the best interest of the safety of our riders, special guests and everyone that welcomes us on the streets, Mel Gibson will not ride as a Co-Grand Marshal for our 2023 parade.”
Gibson, known for "Braveheart," "Lethal Weapon" and "Passion of the Christ," remains a controversial figure in and out of Hollywood after he verbally assaulted Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies with antisemitic and sexist insults in 2006. Then, in 2010, he threatened his then-girlfriend, singer-songwriter Oksana Grigorieva, with rape, using the N-word. Later that year, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge after assaulting Grigorieva.
The actor and director was largely shunned by Hollywood for a decade but was again embraced for his 2016 war drama, "Hacksaw Ridge," which garnered two Oscar wins and four other nominations.
Since then, Gibson has continued to star in movies, most of them action films that have been panned by critics and have quickly left theaters.
Following Gibson's removal from the parade, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the Greater New Orleans Clergy and the Jewish Community Relations Council issued a joint statement, saying they were "appalled" that parade organizers had chosen Gibson as co-grand marshal to begin with.
"Mel Gibson has a long history of making antisemitic, racist and misogynistic slurs," the statement read. "While the actor has made half-hearted attempts to apologize for his remarks over the years, there is still a great deal of pain associated with his name and deep wounds in the Jewish community from those controversies, which may never heal."
Endymion, named after the Greek mythological figure, is the largest of the three Mardi Gras super-krewes in New Orleans. Scheduled for Feb. 18, the Endymion parade will continue with Tulane University football head coach Willie Fritz as its grand marshal. Tulane, a private university in New Orleans, upset higher-ranked USC at this year's Cotton Bowl, ousting the Trojans in a historic comeback.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.