Winona Ryder has spoken out about her treatment on movie sets in the past, most notably commending Keanu Reeves for not verbally abusing her at the request of director Francis Ford Coppola on the set of Dracula. One claim she did make of verbal abuse, however, got a lot more attention on Tuesday.
Ryder accused Mel Gibson of a series of disturbing things in the same interview with the Sunday Times, including homophobic and anti-semitic comments while at a party. Ryder claimed that Gibson once called her an “oven-dodger” at a party. She described the incident to GQ in 2010:
“I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk. I was with my friend, who’s gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about ‘oven dodgers,’ but I didn’t get it. I’d never heard that before. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, ‘He’s anti-Semitic and he’s homophobic.’ No one believed me!”
The readdressing of the incident this week caused Gibson to respond and deny the run-in happened, including an incident where Gibson used homophobic language with her friend, Kevyn Aucoin, who is openly gay. Ryder has told the story to various publications in the past, but readdressing it on Tuesday brought new denials from Gibson of the event she described as follows:
“Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?’ And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?,’” Ryder said. The actress has previously talked about this encounter publicly, including in a 2010 GQ profile.
Gibson told Variety through a spokesperson on Tuesday that the incident never happened, nor did he attempt to apologize for the alleged events as Ryder also claimed.
“This is 100% untrue,” a representative for Gibson said in a statement to Variety. “She lied about it over a decade ago, when she talked to the press, and she’s lying about it now.”
Later on Tuesday, Ryder gave a statement to Variety defending her claims and hoping Gibson “has found a healthy way to deal with his demons” but made it clear he would not be given forgiveness for what she alleges happened.
“I believe in redemption and forgiveness and hope that Mr. Gibson has found a healthy way to deal with his demons, but I am not one of them,” she said in a statement to Variety. “Around 1996, my friend Kevyn Aucoin and I were on the receiving end of his hateful words. It is a painful and vivid memory for me. Only by accepting responsibility for our behavior in this life, can we make amends and truly respect each other, and I wish him well on this lifelong journey.”
This isn’t the only instance where Gibson has made comments similar to the ones Ryder accused him of, including to authorities. But it’s clear he won’t be hearing an apology, or getting forgiveness, from Ryder anytime soon.