The New York Times Arts section has an article today about the fine art of celebrity damage control, focusing on Mel Gibson's attempts to recover from that infamous anti-Semitic tirade following a drunk driving arrest. The model for how to do it right is Hugh Grant, arrested in 1995 for what they discreetly call "performing lewd acts with a prostitute." He immediately went public with it all on Jay Leno's show, where his "bashful British contrition transformed the sheepish Mr. Grant from naughty to nice."
All true, but the author, Dennis McDougal, leaves out a very important difference between the two cases. I'm not surprised he left it out, as it's not a very complimentary thing to say about his readers. And that is the fact that getting a blowjob in a car from a Hollywood hooker is something millions of men secretly wish they had the nerve to do. Of course they went easy on Hugh. And I suspect that millions of women know this about their men more than their boyfriends and husbands imagine, and are willing to tolerate the fanstasy as long as it remains that, a fantasy not acted upon. So while they might be a little harder on Hugh for actually acting out the fanstasy, in the end they gave him a pass too.
But getting quoted say the "fucking Jews ... are responsible for all the wars in the world" is another matter entirely, one that inspires revulsion much more than sneaking admiration. Ol' Mel's going to have a really hard time of it, one he richly deserves.