May 11, 2007 / 7:13 PM / in 11 years

Mel Gibson praised for progress in alcohol rehab

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Mel Gibson got a thumbs up on Friday from a judge overseeing the alcohol rehab program he was ordered to take after a drunken anti-Semitic outburst at police last year.

Actor and director Mel Gibson speaks to journalists while promoting his new film "Apocalypto" in Mexico City in this picture taken January 15, 2007. Gibson got a thumbs up on Friday from a judge overseeing the alcohol rehab program he was ordered to take after a drunken anti-Semitic outburst at police last year. REUTERS/Henry Romero

“I truly believe the rehabilitation (in) this case is effective, and I don’t want to do anything to interrupt that,” said Malibu Superior Court Judge Lawrence J. Mira, explaining why the actor was not asked to appear for Friday’s progress hearing.

“I know his extensive participation in a self-help program — and I should note he has done extensive work, beyond which was required,” Mira added.

Gibson, 51, was arrested in Malibu, California, on suspicion of drunken driving last July, and he caused a furore by launching into a tirade against Jews, saying they were “responsible for all the wars in the world.”

The director of box-office hits “The Passion of the Christ” and “Braveheart” apologized repeatedly, pleaded no contest to drunken driving and was sentenced to three years probation and a one-year Alcoholics Anonymous program.

Gibson must appear in court in August for a final progress report.

Three years ago, Gibson fought off charges of anti-Semitism surrounding “The Passion,” a blood-soaked portrait of Jesus’ crucifixion that Jewish leaders claimed would incite hatred and even violence toward Jews.

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