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Mel Gibson: We heard the tapes, too.

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GibsonWe heard the tapes, too. And they are not good. Mel Gibson (if, in fact, the voice on the tapes is his, and it sounds a lot like him) comes across angry, irrational, foul-mouthed and exhausted from ranting at his former girlfriend and the mother of his infant daughter.

If you don’t know what we’re talking about, in the past few months, the “Braveheart” Oscar winner has been caught up in a pitched legal battle over the failed relationship with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, and has filed a restraining order against the other. But in the past two weeks, the publishing of audiotapes by celebrity website Radaronline.com has raised the stakes in the legal skirmishing and threatened to hurt Gibson’s career — maybe even ruin it. On the tapes, a voice said to be Gibson hurls expletives and racial slurs at a woman who is purportedly Grigorieva. You can read about the first tape with the racial slur here. A second tape was posted by Radaronline.com on Monday.

The tapes, Gibson’s anger, and his use of a racial slur in the initial tape have become news because of Gibson’s use of anti-semitic slurs when he was arrested for drunken driving in 2006. Gibson, of course, apologized for that outburst and paid his price in the court system. Where the latest tapes are concerned, representatives for Gibson, so far, have declined to comment, citing pending litigation. But Hollywood is talking, mostly about whether his career can survive another round of bad publicity. One of our colleagues at The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the subject here.

Mel did bounce back from the negative press in 2006, making a movie “Edge of Darkness” that hit screens in January (read our story about his return here), but it earned only $80 million at global box offices. There’s no doubt he has not reclaimed major star status. His agent dumped him last week (read that here). Still, he has another film, “The Beaver,” that is now in post-production and will soon be in theaters. So, the question is, will anyone go see it? Or, put another way, is it time for Mel Gibson to hang up his Hollywood star?

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