There I was at the pool (or as I used to think of it, my West Coast Office), on the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. I was working for USA Networks and often had cause to visit “the coast”, but there was never room for me in the actual office space. Besides, everyone in "the business" does business in a place that has little to do with business.
I had the requisite 3 breakfasts with PR people, producers, and USA television stars and was bored with the inside of the hotel dining room. I made my way to the roof, walked on the treadmill and planned to make phone calls until noon, when I would indulge in at least two more lunch meetings with one of them being a fabulous raw tuna ice cream cone looking delicacy. And on most occasions I would lunch next to some celeb like Julia Roberts or Ben Affleck. In their better days I sat next to Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Matt Dillon. They were meeting with someone who was not a star and to their credit, they were all well mannered and respectful to the server. Boy, I'm easy...
Staying at the Four Seasons is kind of like going to the White House for meetings. It never gets old. There is always someone interesting to watch or an event worth crashing. Once you have been a political Advance Person, crashing any event is never a problem. It has been my experience that if you look like you belong, (dress the part and pretend to be an adult), walk in with someone who does belong, or pretend to wave at someone who is already in, the checker hardly ever asks for name or identification – especially if you are a guest in the hotel. (This is not the case with the White House, so don’t get any ideas. Besides, who would want to go to the White House these days?).
Back to the pool where I was strategically positioned to see everyone who came or went. I found that sitting in the second row of lounge chairs was best place from which to work. Make no mistakes, this IS work in Hollywood. Let me just say that when you have spent most of your professional life in public service or government, the ability to spend without concern for the taxpayer or some worthwhile organization, is a fabulous treat. And I was pleased to be able to be an excellent corporate dweeb while enjoying all the perks.
I was on the phone with one of my colleagues when I spotted Mel Gibson coming toward the pool. He was unexpectedly short but still adorable. He looked at me and seemed to know that I was not a star f---er, so he found a place in the first row of lounges almost right in front of me. The word, that Mel Gibson was at the pool, must have spread because within minutes there were beautiful young women parading up and down in front of him. He hardly looked up from whatever script he was reading, but he did look back at me every time one of the starlets passed as if to say, “Aren’t they silly.” I would nod back in agreement and it was like we shared some wonderful secret about life in la la land.
The first time I was in the Situation Room at the White House, I called my mother to brag about it. She was not impressed and merely asked, “So what’s the situation?” I then called all my non-government friends who were actually awed by my location. This experience was not dissimilar. Although I did not call my mother, I did call every close friend to report that, yes I was at the Four Seasons with Mel Gibson as my panoramic and my new pal. It was better than being in the situation room and not so claustrophobic. (The situation room seats about 14 people on big comfortable leather chairs but is surprisingly small and obviously has no windows.)
Along with me and the “chicklets” at the pool, there were two young black kids swimming up and back. Every time they passed Mel they looked up and pointed. And every time they did that he would look back at me and smile at their adoration. After about twenty minutes of this they finally stopped and shouted, “Hey! Hey! You! Do you really know Chris Rock?” The dynamic was hilarious and we both enjoyed the moment.
The Jews killed Christ movie was the turning point for me. I no longer wanted to see Mel Gibson do anything. I hated the idea that he actually believed what he had produced. Now this new story about anti-semetic remarks when he was arrested for drunk driving – which is worse, driving drunk or hating Jews. I think probably driving drunk but both are pathetic and unacceptable especially for a public figure. My guess is that being a drunk and a racist didn’t just happen. He’s probably been a closet drunk and bigot for most of his life. What is astounding is the idea that anyone who is successful in the entertainment business could be anti-semetic, a place where almost everyone is Jewish--even if they are self loathing. At the least we now know he’s a good actor. But what could have happened to Mel Gibson to make him so public about his hatred. What ever it was, Mel should just sit down and shut up. We’re just sayin…