Has Gibson's 'Passion' Evoked Spielberg's 'Crusades'?
(3/21/2004) Mel Gibson's latest film, "The Passion of the Christ" generated much controversy months before it was even released. One of the biggest criticisms was that Gibson's retelling of Christ's final moments included an unfairly negative depiction of Jews. This chain letter would have us believe that one of the world's best-known filmmakers wants to "get even" by exploiting Christianity's low points.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Spielbergs Answer to Gibson's "Passion"
He's filming "The Crusades"
Hollywood Mega-hit Producer and Director Steven Spielberg has decided to fight fire with fire. He has announced that since Mel Gibson is fueling the fires of anti-Semitism in the world with his movie about the last hours of Christ, Spielberg will make a graphic movie about the Crusades.
In order to get Jews and Moslems to convert to Christianity, Spielberg commented, Christians went through Europe and into the Middle East forcing conversions on nonbelievers. Along the way they raped, beat, bludgeoned, maimed, tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. I will show Christian brutality in a realistic and most graphic and gory way.
Spielberg went on to add that the movie will have a well-deserved anti-Christian tone. Lets face it, Gibson wants to blame the Jews for the death of one person we didn't even kill. I will show the inhuman brutality of thousands of Christians against hundreds of thousands of people of other faiths, about which historically there is no ambiguity as to who is to blame.
Spielberg said that if this movie is successful, he is likely to follow it up with The "Spanish Inquisition, a historical film on the torture and murder of the Jews of Spain by the Catholic Church." To complete the trilogy, Spielberg announced, in 2006 I will be filming "Hitler and the Pope: A Team Formed in Hell." That should generate some heated debate.
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Disavow yourself of the notion that this is a reliable news account. Aside from not being written like a news piece (there is no context, no idea of when Spielberg offered these comments, etc.), the facts just don't bear it out. The source of it remains unknown, but we can only assume it was intended as satire.
At the time this missive began hitting our inboxes (March, 2004), Spielberg, honored for his Holocaust-era masterpiece, "Schindler's List," hadn't even seen Gibson's film. Spielberg was quoted by the Hollywood Reporter as saying that he would only comment on it to the film's director. A spokesman for Spielberg calls this a "totally fabricated story" and adds that "Anyone who knows him would know that he is dedicated to doing what he can to rid the world of hatred and intolerance wherever it exists."
This isn't the first time Spielberg has been accused of using his power as an a-list director to "get revenge" with the religious right. A 2001 chain letter falsely accused him of planning a movie that would portray Abraham Lincoln "as a racist manic-depressive whose arrogance almost lost the American Civil War," in response to the Republicans' treatment of former President Bill Clinton. Like this one, that one didn't stand up to scrutiny either. Break this chain.