Mel Gibson rant puts spotlight on domestic violence

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July 13, 2010, 9:39 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston) - More fallout from the release of audiotapes by RadarOnline with actor Mel Gibson ranting at his ex-girlfriend.
    
As more audio is released today - Gibson's actions are putting domestic violence in the spotlight.
    
And there's a bit of local irony in that.


Three tapes, the third released today, add more damage to Mel Gibson's already tarnished reputation as an anti-semite and racist. 

But it's that local connection to a domestic violence agency - that might surprise you.

A damaging, hurtful rant purported to be Mel Gibson, acknowledging that he punched his then-girlfriend, Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva while she was holding their 8 month old daughter has been released by the celebrity news website RadarOnline.com.

You might not expect a domestic violence services program in Boston called Casa Myrna to have a connection to Gibson - that link happened 2 years ago through his movie, Edge of Darkness, which was filmed in Boston.

"In 2008, (the location scout) was out scouting locations for the film, Edge of Darkness, and she came upon one of our facilities," said Co-executive director Deborah Collins-Gousby.

Gibson's people ultimately decided not to use that location for the movie, but it's somewhere here in the Dorchester section of the city, a shelter that's still in use.

And then came something even more unexpected, impressed with the work they do, Mel Gibson made a $25,000 donation to Casa Myrna.

"So that was quite a surprise, based on not even just a few hours of meeting with the location staff," Collins-Gousby said.

Its offices in Boston's South End, Casa Myrna includes advocacy programs for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and a statewide hotline, for free, anonymous, and confidential phone calls.

Collins-Gousby says there are thousands of victims who are abused everyday, and few of them are involved with celebrities.

"There are a lot of 'Mel Gibson's' out there and we need to focus on this issue all the time, not just when a celebrity is involved," she added.

We asked the agency if it had any thoughts of returning that check.
 
The agency says it is not able financially to make that money back, that's a lot of money for what they do as a not-for-profit.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, that anonymous line, Safelink can be reached at 1-877-785-2020

Gibson could faces charges, there is an ongoing custody dispute and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept. is investigating accusations of domestic violence.

It is unclear if these kinds of tapes would be allowed in court, especially if Gibson did not grant permission to be recorded.

Tags: domestic violence, Mel Gibson, Josh Brogadir, Oksana Grigorieva
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