That was fast! One of the largest and most splendid Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans is the Krewe of Endymion. On Saturday, the krewe announced on social media that Mel Gibson would serve as co-Grand Marshal of this year’s parade. By Sunday afternoon, the announcement on social media had been deleted and a formal announcement was made that Gibson’s invitation had been withdrawn.
It seems there are still some very hard feelings against Gibson over some unfortunate statements he’s made in the past. It really wasn’t all that long ago, relatively speaking – it began in 2006. That year Gibson was stopped by police for speeding and driving while intoxicated. During the traffic stop, he went off on the police officer in an anti-Semitic rant. It was a very ugly incident, complete with a hideous mug shot, and the fall-out for Gibson came swiftly. Gibson apologized but other accusations of unseemly behavior have since surfaced. The rant to the police officer wasn’t a one-off incident. There were accusations of domestic violence against a girlfriend. And, when he starred in Fatman in 2020, people were angry that his career seemed to be getting back on track. His critics wanted him to be permanently canceled.
With anti-Semitism on the rise, it’s no real surprise that people complained that Gibson had been chosen as co-Grand Marshal. The other co-Grand Marshal is Tulane head football Coach Willie Fritz. Fritz is riding high after leading the Green Wave to an historically successful season. There are about 3200 riders in the krewe and 80 floats. Since 1974, the list of Grand Marshals has included entertainers such as Dolly Parton, Fats Domino, Steven Segal, and Britney Spears. In 2022 the krewe switched it up a bit and chose theological commentator Raymond Arroyo as Grand Marshal. He is the lead anchor of Eternal Word Television Network and a frequent Fox News commenter.
Endymion president Dan Kelly on Sunday said that besides criticism, threats have been made to the krewe since the announcement. So, for safety reasons, Gibson was, in fact, canceled.
“The Krewe of Endymion has received significant feedback about our grand marshal announcement yesterday evening,” wrote Kelly. “Some of this commentary included threats that cause us great concern.”
“In the best interest of the safety of our riders, special guests and everyone that welcomes us on the streets, Mel Gibson will not ride as a Co-Grand Marshal for our 2023 parade,” Kelly concluded.
The mega parade is the only Mardi Gras parade that rolls in Mid-City New Orleans. The krewe negotiated with City Hall to restore an eight-block stretch o the parade route that had been trimmed due to a shortage of New Orleans police and public service personnel. The city will pay Orleans Parish Criminal sheriff’s deputies, supervised by NOPD, to provide crowd control in the previously shortened section.
The event sounds like quite a celebration. The theme of this year’s parade, which rolls on Saturday, February 18, is “Endymion Salutes the Poets” and floats will celebrate works by Edgar Allan Poe, Li Po, Homer, and others. The Endymion Extravaganza (the gala) will feature Darius Rucker and the classic rock group, Foreigner.
Gibson is going to miss a good time. Looks like he has more work to do to make amends. Almost 20 years later, people are not willing to forgive his ugly rants.