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3/23/2004


Peter Bart to Mel: This is a stick up - Give us all your money or we'll wine about it and make you look bad.

Peter Bart editor of Variety Magazine and friend of Mel Gibson has written an open letter to Mel on behalf of the crew that worked on "The Passion of the Christ". In it he claims that those that worked on the film deserve a bonus or larger piece of the pie. He writes:

"SO LET'S BE BLUNT ABOUT IT, Mel: We feel we deserve a piece of the action. You made us all sign intimidating "gag orders" during filming, which we obeyed faithfully, but we all have tales to tell now --- how petulant you were, for example, that you couldn't readily find technicians with experience performing crucifixions or public scourging."

Peter begs on saying:

"Apart from this, Mel, we would urge you to consider the wider implications of your vast success. No one in history has ever found a way of turning the Gospels into a money machine, but that achievement carries with it certain ecumenical responsibilities. Just as Jesus' teachings brought great benefit to the world, so could your humanitarian contributions. We are aware of your zealously conservative approach to Catholic doctrine, but "Passion" speaks not just to Catholics around the world but to those of many faiths."

Peter Bart has zero understanding of Christ and his message. His letter to Mel is more about greed and jealousy than anything else. If he had a good understanding of scriptural principals this letter would never have been written. He mentions the benefits of Christ’s teaching to the world, but nothing of Christ’s principles were used in drafting the letter. For more read Matthew 20:1-16

I've spent the better part of 2 hours searching the net for a connection between Peter Bart and The Passion and I can't find one other than a comment on the film before it's release and his relationship with Mel. Here is what he said.

"The precept of freedom of expression often takes a back seat once the ideologues and pedants get involved. Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion,” provides the latest and most vivid example. Though Gibson is still editing his film and has shown it to a very small number of people, there already are cries of protest and dark insinuations of an anti-Semitic subtext. …These blatherings strike us as irresponsible. The film, which depicts the final hours of Jesus’ life, was fully financed by Gibson, who directed it but did not appear in it. It is clearly an art film, dark and disturbing. Some will be moved by this film, others disturbed. As with all previous films depicting the period, some scholars and theologians will doubtless challenge Gibson’s historical accuracy – indeed he is an actor, not a Biblical scholar. But to condemn both the film and the filmmaker in advance reflects both bigotry and a disdain for free expression."

It doesn't appear that he worked on the set of the Passion at all. Maybe he's just writing because he feels compelled to for some reason. Ironically I just watched a video of Peter Bart interviewing Mel and talking about how Hollywood can be a backstabbing place that makes you wonder why someone would even want to live in the LA area. They talked about false fronts. One moment you’re at a meeting and everyone is happy. After you leave the meeting is when the truth comes out. You’ll find out then if what was discussed had any bearing at all.

In the interview with Peter, Mel did say that he had philanthropic reasons for making the film. Maybe this is what inspired that letter. Either way it seems like a rather back handed way of talking to someone you know really well.

But I digress. Back to the meat of Bart’s message to Mel.

In principle if you were to work for your company, your wage would be based on a salary that you agreed to work for. Even if you’re the lowest on the totem pole, you made the agreement to work for that company. Here’s a shocker for ya: The benefits your company gives you are not given to you by law. The company provides you with certain benefits as part of a package deal that will make the business a place where people would like to work. But the fact still remains they are under no legal obligation to give you benefits.

Most places of business are an at will employer. They hire and fire at will. It goes both ways. If you feel that your compensation is less than what you feel is appropriate for what you do, you can argue your case to your boss and hope he gives you a raise or you can look for another place of employment. It’s that simple.

Mel had a contract with each one of these people. Each was paid accordingly. If Mel decides to pay them a bonus it will be out of the kindness of his heart and not do to anything that Peter Bart wrote in his backstabbing letter.

But let’s make one thing clear. If Mel decides not to pay out bonuses, it does not make him greedy or selfish. We have no idea what Mel will do with that money. It’s none of our business. It’s between him and his God.

posted by: Brian Scott


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