Surprising many, Mel Gibson, the once beloved Australian actor who is best known now for his drunken anti-Semitic rant in 2006, has been quietly working with a charity that helps Holocaust survivors.
According to actress Zane Buzby, Gibson has been supporting her organization, the Survivor Mitzvah Project. The charity brings emergency aid to Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe in need of food, medicine, heat, and shelter.
Buzby went on to state that Gibson isn’t just donating money, but has taken an active interest in the group, visiting the office and getting more people involved.
“Mel Gibsoon is helping Holocaust survivors in eight countries,” Buzby said. “I have great respect for people who turn their lives around, and I think that everyone makes mistakes in life, and I think the real proof of what kind of human being you are is what you do with that mistake.”
The news of his involvement, which coincides with his first directorial work in a decade, didn’t come from Gibson or a press agent on his behalf, which lends credence to the news. It’s not unheard of for a celebrity to try and make themselves look better through charitable work, but Gibson has gotten sober and started educating himself about a variety of issues. While his 2006 comments didn’t ruin his career they certainly tarnished it. Gibson has, in the past, expressed homophobic and racist opinions as well, before and after that incident.
As for the Survivor Mitzvah Project itself, it is a relatively small charity, which is only beginning to attract attention. It is not yet rated on Charity Navigator, having less than $1 million in revenue, but has teamed up with Amazon Smile and other programs in order to pursue its mission. The organization boasts a good number of celebrity supporters, not surprising for a Hollywood-based charity.
Buzby will be recognized by the Anti-Defamation League for her work in founding the Survivor Mitzvah Project at its annual Deborah Awards Dinner in Beverly Hills.