As one of the groups tasked with organizing New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras festivities, the Krewe of Endymion often selects a few celebrity guests—usually musicians, actors or media personalities—to acted as co-marshal in their annual Mardi Gras parade. . This year, one of its marshals will be Willie Fritz, the head coach who revived Tulane University’s struggling football program and spurred the team to victory at this year’s Cotton Bowl Classic. .
other, until Sunday night, is Mel Gibson.
Less than a day after it was announced that Gibson would lead the super-krewe caravan through the city, Endymion officials backed the decision, citing “critical feedback.” in a statement, krewe president Dan Kelly added, “Some of these commentary included threats that were of great concern to us.” He did not elaborate on the nature or source of the alleged threats.
Boasting an $8 million budget, Endymion deploys 3,200 riders on its 80 floats each year, breaking through jubilant crowds, with many spectators setting off key viewing spots for hours or even days before the parade. With a reputation maintained as one of only three so-called super krewes of Mardi Gras, Endymion has never shied away from creativity in his great field marshals’ choices. Sometimes, like in 1988, that led to Dolly Parton leading the parade with Spuds MacKenzie, Bud Light’s fictional speaking dog. The organization is no stranger to playing hits, either, having invited Florida rockers KC and the Sunshine Band back no less than four times to run the parade in 1979, 1995, 1998 and the anniversary parade. 50th anniversary of establishment in 2017.
But rarely, if ever, Endymion causes controversy with his handsome choice, prompting Mel Gibson — famous for his habit of lashing out racist, sexist, anti-Semitism or homophobia. for anything ex-girlfriend, costaror Cop happened to be within earshot—an unusual choice.
Gibson’s Hollywood career, once thought to be in the dark, has rebounded in recent years, starting with his directing efforts on the 2016 film. Hacksaw ribs, which brought him a fruitless Oscar buzz. More recently, it was announced that he will be given the right to enter the finals Deadly Weapons part of longtime franchise director Richard Donner.
The announcement on Saturday night that Gibson would co-host the parade was met with fierce criticism on social media, with one Twitter user snarling, “Really #Endymion? Mel Gibson? David Duke is not available?” Another crime analyst, Jeff Asher, based in New Orleans, joked, “I heard Mel Gibson was Endymion’s backup plan after Andrew Tate failed to pull it off.”
After Gibson was removed, a coalition of Jewish organizations released a statement condemning the selection in the first place. In a joint statement issued by the Anti-Defamation League, Greater New Orleans Jewish Federation and Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council, ADL regional director Lindsay Baach Friedmann wrote, “There is still a lot of pain associated with the name. his age. and deep wounds in the Jewish community. His choice as Grand Marshal of Endymion is utterly insulting and short-sighted.”
The last time Endymion reversed his decision to marshal, it was to remove Woody Harrelson, when it was an actor with a new face in the movie. Congratulationfrom the 1991 march after he was linked to an anti-war protest in Los Angeles.
“We don’t need that kind of argument,” said Captain Krewe Related press at that time. Harrelson shrugged, telling the telegraph service, “As far as I know, Mardi Gras has nothing to do with politics.”
A representative for Gibson did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment on Sunday night. And with Endymion officials were apparently unable to immediately contact KC and the Sunshine Band manager over the weekend, and it remains unclear who could be selected to replace Gibson for the February parade.