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Dean explains his side on WGN Radio show
February 9, 2010 1:58 PM
Dean explains his side of the Mel Gibson controversy and takes calls from listeners on his Sunday morning WGN Radio show.
Dean Comments and listener calls on Mel Gibson.mp3
Dean's Interview on HLN ShowBiz Tonight
WATCH FULL INTERVIEW:
Ole' Mel still has got it.
Not his one-time guaranteed box office appeal (his new movie debuted at half of what Avatar did in it's 7th week out.) I'm talking about his ability to make news purely on his personality.
Last week, I was contacted by the PR company who wanted to know if I was interested in talking to Mel Gibson. They told me that I could talk to him, but only if I didn't bring up any of his much publicized personal problems of the past few years, and stuck to talking about his movie. I told them no, thanks. I don't do interviews with conditions on them.
When you have a person who's been at the center of a storm of very dysfunctional behavior, absent from a starring role for the past 7 years, who claims to have changed and that he is sincerely sorry for what he's done; it would be a 2000 lb elephant in the room to not bring it up in a conversation you might have with them.
I would ask about his movie (that I reviewed positively, btw), but also, while I felt there was no need to bring up specifics about his much publicized DUI and alleged anti-Semitic
remarks or pass a judgment on him, I did feel that on the occasion of his return to a starring role, that it would be appropriate to politely and professionally ask him about how he weathered the storm and how the public's view might have changed. If he and his PR company only wanted me to toss softball questions, they came to the wrong person.
A few days later, we were re-approached asking if we would do the interview. I re-explained that I would ask a couple of questions about the movie, but I'd also have to ask pertinent news worthy questions. They apparently wanted to be on WGN. We agreed to do the interview.
You've probably seen the interview by now. It was pleasant enough for the first half but as my questions became more challenging, his tone and even physical demeanor changed. I asked about his 7 year absence. I asked if he is a changed person as a result of the time off that he described. When I asked if the he thought the public would perceive him differently, that's when the tide really turned.
He used his stock "I've gotten past all that, you should too, dude" line that I heard him use on other reporters who dared to ask a tough question. He clearly became angry and confrontational. That was not my hope. I just wanted to learn what he had learned since his troubles.
I didn't brow beat him. I didn't make a judgment on him. I didn't dredge out all of the details of his "incidents" until he pretended like he didn't know what I was talking about and asked me what I meant. Apparently, he thought I'd back off. We don't roll like that in Chicago. I reminded him what he had done.
I hoped to avoid bringing all of that up since most everyone knows what he did; I was trying to be courteous, but he forced me to be blunt and then got mad when I did. My question was about his 7 year absence and the how the public would receive him. A star of his caliber, presumably with good PR people, should have been prepared with a simple response.
Instead, his words and his body language spoke volumes. The most revealing part of it all was with his final word in the interview before the satellite feed was actually cut off. I plugged his movie, thanked him and then was shocked to hear him called me an "a"-hole (you know the real word) when he thought he was off camera.
I know from your emails that some of you agree with him I also know many of you think my questions and actions were perfectly appropriate. Some of you just hate the guy and wondered why I would even have him on the show in the first place.
There are far more important things in the world to worry about than an uncomfortable interview and Mel Gibson calling Dean Richards a nasty name. I'll only make this observation. Famous person or not, the true measure of a person is how they act when they think no one is looking. More than the content of the interview, here we get a crystal clear view of a man who claims to be sorry for his actions and claims to be a changed man.
Apparently, that's only if he thinks that no one can see the "real" him.
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