(JTA) — Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas said in a letter to Mel Gibson that the actor and filmmaker "hates Jews." Ezsterhas sent the letter following Warner Bros.’ rejection of his screenplay for Gibson’s movie about Judah Maccabee.
The letter, published on The Wrap.com, accuses Gibson of not really wanting to make the film, and sabotaging it, saying: "I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you won’t make ‘The Maccabees’ is the ugliest possible one. You hate Jews.”
Eszterhas wrote that Gibson wanted to make the movie only so he could “convert the Jews to Christianity.”
Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that it would not go forward with Eszterhas’ script and was "analyzing what to do with the project," according to The Wrap.
Gibson wrote a response to Eszterhas, published in the Los Angeles Times, in which he said that Eszterhas’ script was delivered late and that the draft was "substandard" and a "significant waste of time."
"Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing ‘Maccabees’ to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced 8 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," Gibson wrote.
The controversy over Gibson’s film "The Passion of the Christ" erupted nine years ago.
“The Passion of the Christ” angered many in the Jewish community who thought that it played into notions of Jewish culpability for the killing of Jesus. Later he landed in hot water after spewing anti-Semitic invective during a drunken confrontation with a police officer.
Jewish groups criticized Gibson’s involvement in a film on the life of Judah Maccabee when he inked a production deal with Warner Bros. Studio for the movie project in September 2011.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Wednesday that he was pleased that the project is stalled.