Monday, July 31, 2006

LEADERSHIP--In Vino Opprobrium...

...which is Latin for "There's a scandal at the bottom of every bottle."

If you ever wanted a good reason why it's important for you as a person of influence to keep your public presence pristine, I have two words for you--Mel Gibson.

According to the AP, Mel was stopped by Malibu police Friday night for drunken driving. The entertainment Web site TMZ posted what it said were four pages from the original arrest report, which quoted Gibson as launching an expletive-laden "barrage of anti-Semitic remarks" after he was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway. (You can read the whole story HERE.)

Hollywood really doesn't care what their superstars say or do as long as their movies sell tickets. But Mel's reputation--which took some unfair hits during the filming ofThe Passion of the Christ--is now squarely in the crosshairs. And he deserves everything he gets.

The good news is that Mel immediately apologized for the incident, saying "After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed...I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable...I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry." The bad news is that it may be too late to salvage his standing with the public.

For Mel Gibson fans, that mea culpa may be enough--but for most other people, Mad Mel just became a party joke at best and a fallen star with a shortened career at worst. Being in a position of any power or influence makes you a role model, whether you like it or not. Unless you want your private life to become the hot topic around the water cooler, practice moderation to avoid humiliation.

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