Evidently, enduring actor Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant wasn’t sufficient punishment for being a Jewish deputy sheriff in Los Angeles.
It seems department officials felt further chastisement was necessary, since they have elected to repeatedly pass Deputy James Mee over for promotion ever since the 2006 episode, and a judge recently ruled that Mee can sue the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on that account.
Mee, who still works for the department, reportedly filed a lawsuit last year against his employers, claiming that not only has he been denied promotions, but that he’s also suffered harassment for reporting Gibson’s tirade during his infamous drunken driving arrest.
Sheriff Lee Baca’s office requested the suit be dismissed, but a judge wouldn’t do it and the trial is now reportedly set for September.
For those in need of reminder, about four years ago when Gibson was stopped in Malibu on suspicion of driving under the influence, he asked Mee, the cop who pulled him over, “Are you a Jew?”, and then started ranting and raving about the Jews being “responsible for all the wars in the world.”
This and other stuff the formerly popular film star has said since – about Jews, the Holocaust, his maniacally anti-Semitic father and about his personal relationships – make it clear what side of the sanity fence the guy’s on. It’s too bad, really, that this didn’t come to light before the release of the man’s anti-Semitic Passion Play redux. He was able back then to claim he was no more anti-Semitic than Jackie Mason, and those with suspicions otherwise, had no ammunition against those claims.
Now we do.
You know, I used to like Gibson, but now, I can’t look at him without deep disgust. Same thing happens with the guy who played Kramer on Seinfeld who also chose one day to spectacularly flush his career down the john with a public racist rant.
But while Gibson and Michael Richards’ career wounds are self-inflicted, and the two of them deserve the reputations they are now enjoying, this is not so with Mee, who only had the misfortune of being the cop who pulled Gibson over for drunk driving.
I’m sure he had no idea who he was pulling over and when he found out, I’m sure the last thing he expected to encounter on the streets of L.A. was a Nazi in actor’s clothing.
Nevertheless, according to reports, Mee did his job as he ordinarily would, including the Jew-baiting remarks in his report. He says that later he was told by his superiors to put the slurs in a separate, secret report, which is troubling to me.
Would such a thing have been ordered were it an ordinary anti-Semite doing the ranting? Is it the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department standard operating procedure to hide incidents of anti-Semitism from the public? Is this the case with other government agencies, too? If so, then we really have no idea the number or nature of anti-Semitic incidents in this country.
If it’s just famous people whose racist comments are hidden, what kind of collusion must that indicate?
In any case, Mee says he agreed to the separate report, but that a Hollywood celebrity website picked up on the remarks anyway, made them public and the rest, as they say, is history.
Mee’s lawyer said he was accused of “leaking the report because he is Jewish.”
And, of course, a sheriff’s spokesman denied Mee’s allegations of retaliation and ethnic discrimination, though it’s hard to imagine the department doing otherwise. What was its option? Come out and say, “Sure, we’re after him. We always knew those kikes don’t belong in law enforcement?”
The treatment Mee appears to have been enduring since the Gibson encounter reminds me of what often happens to military rape victims, victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and other types of whistleblowers.
The unwanted negative focus directed at the agency or corporation is blamed on the victim for having called attention to it, instead of on the perpetrator who is often promoted out of the situation, to go along their merry way, leaving the victim to suffer alone for the crime of having been victimized.
It will be interesting to see what ends up happening to Mee and to his superiors.
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