Update: Deadline has posted an editor’s note clarifying the post by Weiner, and adding that the site should have disclosed her business tie to the Gibson-funded thelip.tv.
Previously: Many may be surprised to learn that an impassioned plea by freelance journalist Allison Hope Weiner for Hollywood to embrace Mel Gibson last week failed to disclose an additional relationship between the writer and actor-director.
In the 3,500 word post, Weiner confessed to being a “journalist who formerly vilified Gibson” and who had become his friend. And she pleaded:
“It is time for those Hollywood agencies and studios to end their quiet blacklisting of Mel Gibson.”
But while Weiner mentioned that Gibson had been to her family celebrations and her Passover seder, she did not mention that she hosts an online TV show for a company that is owned by Gibson.
Weiner hosts an online interview show on TheLip.tv called Media Mayhem, where she interviews media figures. TheWrap has learned that Mel Gibson is the financial backer for the online network, but keeps his ownership hidden.
Reached by TheWrap, Weiner said she is not paid for the show, but said that Gibson’s Icon Entertainment “are an investor in The Lip.tv.”
Another individual close to Gibson told TheWrap that Gibson had invested $1.5 million in the online network, but did not want to publicly disclose his ownership. That information was first sent to BlindGossip.com.
Gibson’s son Will is an associate producer at TheLip, and a close Gibson friend, Michael Lustig, is listed as the founder. Lustig submitted a declaration on Gibson’s behalf in the child custody hearing against Oksana Grigorieva in 2010.
TheWrap’s request to reach Lustig through TheLip did not receive a response. A spokesman for Gibson said he had “no knowledge of Mel Gibson‘s private investments nor Icon’s.”
Deadline editor Mike Fleming said: “I have no comment other than to say I admired the article she wrote for me.”
According to a third individual, Gibson urged friends to help Weiner and her show. “Mel said he had financed an Internet company which included a talk show on which Weiner was doing interviews,” said one individual who had previously been close to Gibson who declined to be identified. “He said she had been an entertainment journalist but was no longer doing that, and he was helping her financially.”
Weiner emphatically denied to TheWrap that Gibson ever helped her financially.
Weiner’s post raised eyebrows in Hollywood and racked up no fewer than 845 commenters, some of whom praised the writer for bravely speaking out on Gibson’s behalf, but many others who found the whole article curious. Weiner is not employed at Deadline, and she took harsh criticism among the commenters for using her status as a journalist to advocate for Gibson.
Typical of those comments was one who wrote tongue in cheek: “‘I decided we were friends now and that I could no longer write objectively about him.’ And I decided to account for that fact and stopped reading.”
And this one by Mark Georgeff who wrote:
“We’re supposed to what? Feel sorry for the racist and anti — whoa…wait a minute. He’s really an alcoholic, who fell off the wagon. He just happend, just by mistake, since he was drunk…JUST HAPPENED to go on an anti-semtic rant against a police officer; who stopped him from driving any more drunk… I think there are far more, average, hard-working people in destiution and poverty in this country, who could probably use more reportage on; how about the innocent, who’ve been wrongly ocnvicted (sic) and are imprisoned. Any one…far worst off, than MEL GIBSON.”