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Mel Gibson is in big, big trouble

By now everyone has heard of the latest Mel Gibson rant, where he was recorded screaming, ranting and raving at his ex-girlfriend.

By now everyone has heard of the latest Mel Gibson rant, where he was recorded screaming, ranting and raving at his ex-girlfriend. In that profanity-laced recorded conversation - and I use the word "conversation" loosely - he basically admits to beating her up.

As a result of this latest PR debacle, the police are now investigating and Gibson's agency, William Morris Endeavour, has dropped him. Now people are wondering if this is finally the end for Mel Gibson in Hollywood.

That is a good question. It's not as if Mel hasn't been in trouble before. There was the time when he was pulled over by cops and went into another tirade that included a bunch of anti-Semitic slurs. That very nearly ruined his career, too. The fact that his career kept going after that is downright remarkable given what happened back then.

A few people are of the opinion that somehow, some way, Mel's career will survive yet again. They point to the supposed high tolerance people seem to have for these Hollywood actors and actresses and their bad behaviour. They point to folks like Charlie Sheen, in trouble for domestic abuse allegations, and Lindsay Lohan who is going to jail for violating her DUI probation terms .

But just because you keep hearing their names come up on the entertainment news shows all the time doesn't exactly mean their careers aren't paying a steep price behind the scenes for their repeated lapses. On the surface, Charlie Sheen appears to have gotten off scot-free because he did sign on to another year with his TV show, Two and a Half Men. But the fact is his latest shenanigans almost cost him his spot on the series. To this point, Sheen's notorious hooker-filled personal life has been more laughable than offensive, with Sheen on the receiving end of jokes from countless standup comedians. Sooner or later, though, this sort of behavior stops being funny and becomes no laughing matter. Any more of these incidents could definitely finish Sheen off.

And Lindsay Lohan's career has been in terrible shape ever since she started appearing in court on a regular basis. Not only is she having trouble finding hit movies to star in - she's had a lot of trouble lately finding any projects to be involved in, period, because no one will work with her. She's seen by producers as an insurance risk. That's what happens if you tick off enough people and get in enough trouble.

To be honest with you, I think Mel's career is in real trouble now. I think there is a stench, a lasting bad odor, that comes from the sort of bad-boy behaviour we have seen. It does affect the bottom line. And it doesn't even take real bad-boy behaviour for a career to hit the rocks. Look at Tom Cruise, for example. He used to be a major - I mean major - box office draw with the Mission: Impossible movies and Top Gun and the rest. But after that couch-jumping episode on the Oprah Winfrey Show his career has really stalled. After that episode his fans turned on him - they thought the guy was just too weird.

His latest movie Knight and Day, opposite Cameron Diaz, has not done well, and another production, Lions for Lambs, which he co-produced, also tanked. His career has been in the dumpster, and it has taken a long time for his image to recover. But he also never went berserk to the extent Mel Gibson did, which is why I think Gibson is really going to feel some major repercussions for his antics.

It is possible for second-chances to be granted to actors in Hollywood - Robert Downey Jr. got in big trouble because of drugs, but managed to clean up his act and come back better than ever in movies like Iron Man. It is possible in the entertainment industry to redeem yourself. But the problem for Mel Gibson is that he's already been in the doghouse once before for ranting slurs at the cops. With this latest tirade, Gibson absolutely looks like a dangerous individual who should be locked up. He doesn't look like the kind of guy moviegoers are going to support or relate to, period.

There are repercussions to Mel Gibson's out-of-control behaviour and I have no doubt he will feel the wrath of the public soon enough. It is too bad, too, because Gibson has proven he has talent - a lot of it. His work from recent years such as Apocalypto and The Passion of the Christ were also praised by a lot of people as inspired filmmaking.

But those films also revolted people who thought they were too violent, and a lot of people out there accused The Passion of the Christ of portraying Jews in a negative light. So that is where a lot of the anti-Semitism charges against Gibson originated from. Gibson earned a fair share of enemies as a result of some of his movies - and his violent personal life and the revelations surrounding him are adding fuel to an already blazing fire.

The problem lies not with Gibson's talent, but with all the rest of his persona - the anti-Semitism accusations, the out-of-control ranting and raving, and now these latest accusations/revelations of violence in his private life. And there is bound to be a backlash to all of it. Sooner or later it becomes box-office poison. Heck, look what happened to Tom Cruise, and worse yet, to Lindsay Lohan. I suspect it will take an even longer time for Gibson to recover - if he ever does.

There is only so much tolerance Hollywood and the public has for bad-boy behaviour before it is exhausted. If the studios believe Mel Gibson won't make their studios any money, they won't deal with him anymore.

Our friend Charlie Sheen needs to start taking some notes. Sheen needs to clean up his act, fast, because right now he is proceeding down the same road as Mel Gibson.