Joe Eszterhas, a screenwriter tasked with penning the since-rejected screenplay for Mel Gibson's latest movie, has accused the actor of anti-Semitism.
"You hate Jews," bluntly says Basic Instinct and Showgirls writer Eszterhas, who was to write Gibson's film about Biblical Jewish hero Judah Maccabee.
In a nine-page letter to Warner Bros., Eszterhas accuses Gibson of solely pitching The Maccabees "to deflect charges of anti-Semitism which have dogged [him]."
Mel then allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks throughout the writing process.
In his letter, Eszterhas (who is Jewish) claimed that Gibson continually referred to Jews in front of him as "Hebes," "oven-dodgers" and "Jewboys."
He also claims Mel called the Holocaust "mostly a lot of horses--t"; and said his intention with The Maccabees was "to convert Jews to Christianity."
Not surprisingly, Gibson fired back just hours later.
Calling Eszterhas' claims "utter fabrications," the oft-troubled star responds, "I will acknowledge that like most creative people I am passionate and intense."
"I was very frustrated that when you arrived at my home at the expense of both Warner Bros. and myself you hadn't written a single word of a script."
"Not even an outline after 15 months of research, meetings, discussions and the outpouring of my heartfelt vision for this story."
"I did react more strongly than I should have. I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find so offensive. So let me now clearly apologize to you and your family in the simplest of terms."
Gibson, who wrote that he refused to address Eszterhas' missive line-by-line, adds:
"Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing The Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years."
"That was publicly announced eight years ago."
"I absolutely want to make this movie; it's just that neither Warner Brothers nor I want to make this movie based on your script."
The actor-director maintained that both he was "extremely disappointed" with Eszterhas' draft, which he claims he spent two years researching.