The violent tirade spewing from the mouth of Mel Gibson may be shocking to the general public, but it is disturbingly familiar to those of us who have experienced such white-hot abuse up close and personal.
Five taped telephone conversations between Mel Gibson, the movie star, and Oksana Grigorieva, his former girlfriend and mother of his eight-month-old daughter, were posted last week on the celebrity gossip website RadarOnline.com.
A bit of background is in order. Gibson apparently left his wife of 28 years, Robyn Moore, with whom he has seven children, for Oksana. In 2009, photos emerged of Gibson embracing Oksana on a beach in Costa Rica, and after that, Robyn Moore filed for divorce.
Oksana is a Russian pianist and singer-songwriter, who studied music in Moscow and London. She moved to the United States and wrote a hit song for Josh Groban. In 2009, she released an album called Beautiful Heartache; Mel Gibson was the executive producer and director of a music video for the album.
Oksana and Mel Gibson had a daughter in October 2009 who is now the subject of a child custody battle. Los Angeles police are also investigating an alleged incident of domestic violence that occurred in January 2010; Oksana filed a formal complaint a few weeks ago.
In February 2010, the abusive phone calls between Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva allegedly took place. No one has confirmed that the voice on the phone is Mel Gibson, but no one has denied it either. The caller sure sounds like Mel.
And Mel sounds vile. He is beyond belligerent—he is raging, panting and hyperventilating. He cusses Oksana out. He calls her denigrating names—“whore” is one of the milder ones. He threatens to burn the house down—but first Oksana will give him sex.
What sparked the tirade? Apparently Oksana’s offense was falling asleep before Mel received the sexual gratification to which he felt entitled.
Five tapes, uncut and unbleeped, were posted on RadarOnline.com. They are disgusting. They are offensive. And for some of you, they may be triggers. If you want to listen, please be sure that you’re strong enough.
So now there seems to be a new celebrity parlor game going on called, “What’s wrong with Mel?”
The Week magazine published a story called Diagnosing Mel Gibson: 4 theories. Lundy Bancroft called Mel Gibson a classic batterer. Some psychologists say he’s bipolar, others say he has a sociopathic personality. One therapist actually said Mel was feeling powerless.
Two Lovefraud readers sent in a link to an excellent article in the New York Times called The Gospel of Mel Gibson, by journalist David Brooks. Brooks says Mel is a narcissist:
The narcissistic person is marked by a grandiose self-image, a constant need for admiration, and a general lack of empathy for others. He is the keeper of a sacred flame, which is the flame he holds to celebrate himself.
And, as I wrote this post, an article was posted on People.com, entitled, Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva: why their custody battle went nuclear. People quotes some unnamed source who said, “This is a case of a woman scorned.”
Are you kidding me? My guess is that the “unnamed source” was a spin doctor in Mel Gibson’s camp who was attempting damage control by painting the woman as the villain.
One variety of verbal abuse
The most helpful article, from Lovefraud’s point of view, was posted by Tina Brown on thedailybeast.com. She wrote:
If this tape is allowable in court it may happily be just the evidence needed to land him in jail for domestic abuse. This is no “he said, she said” argument now, it’s Mel, clear as a bell, admitting he hit Oksana “while she was holding a child in her hands” because she “f—- deserved it.”
It’s a payday for Oksana who, like every woman in a battle for child custody with a powerful man, finds herself painted as a lying opportunist. Most of the rancor coming Mel’s way so far has been about his racist comments. But his vile misogyny is more unsettling still. It’s as if a curtain has been raised on the window of every house where a frightened woman is living in fear of a man who has all the financial cards.
Sometimes, foaming-at-the-mouth rage of the alleged Mel Gibson tapes are what abuse sounds like. Other times, the abuse is calm, cold and collected. I hope another celebrity records an abusive partner who speaks in a cruel, calculating manner, so that people learn what that type of abuse sounds like as well.