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Gibson, Professor Trade Barbs Over Film

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MEL_GIBSON?SITE=CASAN&SECTION=HOME&T EMPLATE=DEFAULT Gibson, Professor Trade Barbs Over Film By SANDY COHEN AP
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 25, 2007
      http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MEL_GIBSON?SITE=CASAN&SECTION=HOME&T
      EMPLATE=DEFAULT

      Gibson, Professor Trade Barbs Over Film

      By SANDY COHEN
      AP Entertainment Writer

      LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Mel Gibson exchanged angry words with a university
      professor who challenged the accuracy of his film "Apocalypto" at an
      on-campus screening. Gibson was answering questions from the crowd at
      California State University, Northridge, Thursday night when Alicia
      Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American studies, accused the
      actor-director of misrepresenting the Mayan culture in the movie. Gibson
      directed an expletive at the woman, who was removed from the crowd.

      "In no way was my question aggressive in the way that he responded to it,"
      Estrada said. "These are questions that my peers, my colleagues, ask me
      every time I make a presentation. These are questions I pose to my students
      in the classroom."

      Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, characterized the professor as "a
      heckler."

      "The woman ... was rude and disruptive inasmuch as the event organizers had
      to escort her out," Nierob said.

      Lauren Robeson, editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Daily Sundial,
      said Gibson denounced Estrada as a troublemaker.

      "It was a brief disruption to an otherwise interesting, stimulating event
      from our students' perspectives," said university spokesman John Chandler.
      "The students were very appreciative of Mr. Gibson being there. He spent a
      lot of time answering questioernational headlines. The R-rated epic about
      the decline of Mayan civilization shows Mayan rulers slitting throats and
      beheading and ripping the beating hearts from the chests of their enemies.

      Human sacrifice among the Mayans has been well-documented in recent years
      and is accepted as fact by most anthropologists, knocking down a previous
      theory that the culture did not take part in such bloody rituals.

      However, there are some scholars and Indian activists who still believe the
      human sacrifice accounts are false or overblown, and an attempt by racist
      scientists to paint the culture as violent.

      "This isn't the Mayan culture," Juan Tiney, leader of the National Indian
      and Farmer Committee, Guatemala's biggest Mayan organization, told the AP.
      "Although it might be part of it, there was also culture, economics,
      astronomical wealth and language. ... It discredits a people to present
      them in this manner."

      Gibson "did his homework and consulted with world authorities on this
      matter," Nierob said.

      "Apocalypto" has grossed more than $100 million worldwide, and it earned
      three Academy Award nominations.

      ---

      Associated Press writers John Rogers in Los Angeles, Traci Carl in Mexico
      and Juan Carlos Llorca in Guatemala contributed to this report.

      © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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