For Gibson Flack, Crisis Is Just Another Day at the Office

By Rebecca Spence

Published August 04, 2006, issue of August 04, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

When rock star Courtney Love was looking to resurrect her tarnished public image and regain custody of her daughter, Frances Bean, she turned to Hollywood spin master Alan Nierob — the same publicist who is now aiming to save Mel Gibson following his latest gaffe.

And if the Anti-Defamation League’s willingness to meet with Gibson when he gets out of rehab is any indication, Nierob may have scored yet another public relations coup. Apparently he has a knack for getting his clients out of sticky situations.

But in a career filled with mopping up celebrity messes, this week’s episode may prove to be the stickiest yet. Already, in a nod to Nierob’s unflagging efforts, the Hollywood gossip Web site Defamer just named him the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”

Whether Nierob, a Jew whose parents are Holocaust survivors, keeps Gibson as a client after he has pulled him through this latest crisis, remains to be seen.

Nierob — who has represented the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Denzel Washington and Steve Martin in his 27 years at the powerhouse public relations firm of Rogers & Cowan — guided the alcoholic A-lister through the controversy over “The Passion of the Christ.” But some industry insiders suggested that Gibson’s drunken antisemitic tirade could prove to be the final chapter of his professional relationship with Nierob. Others argued that the middle of a crisis is no time to drop a client, even if he’s spewing hate speech against the publicist’s own ethnic group.

“There’s something to be said for loyalty and not leaving someone in the midst of a very difficult time, but ultimately that’s a personal decision,” Matthew Hiltzik said. Hiltzik is president and CEO of Freud Communications, which represents Weinstein Films. He is also executive producer of the 2004 Emmy-nominated Holocaust-related documentary “Paper Clips.”

“It’s very difficult to hold a publicist accountable for their client’s comments,” Hiltzik added.

Nierob could not be reached for comment.

During the heated debate over “The Passion of the Christ,” which outraged some Jewish leaders who accused Gibson of portraying Jews as responsible for the death of Jesus, Nierob touted his own Jewish credentials to provide cover for Gibson.

The New Yorker reported in a 2003 article that Nierob was a founding member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. A spokesman for the museum said that while Nierob was not a “founder” — a distinction requiring a gift of $1 million or more — he had made donations both before and after the museum opened its doors.

Nierob isn’t the only Jew to be tangled up in Gibson’s drunken folly. As the sauced superstar spewed his antisemitic rant, he reportedly asked the arresting police officer, James Mee, if he is Jewish.

As it turns out, he is.






Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.