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Winona Ryder Says Mel Gibson Called Her An ‘Oven Dodger’ At A Party Years Before His Anti-Semitic Tirade

L: Noam Galai/Getty Images R: Jerritt Clark/WireImage

Despite recent movements and public pressure to be more accepting of minority groups, there are still raging issues of sexism, racism and antisemitism alive and well in the film industry.

In a new interview with the Sunday Times of London, Winona Ryder discussed turning 50, celebrity relationships and her upbringing.

The interview largely emphasized current world movements, such as Black Lives Matter protests and Ryder’s Jewish heritage and her experiences with antisemitism.

For several years, Mel Gibson’s acting career was derailed because of a very public anti-semitic rant he had against a cop back in 2006. This, of course, anecdotally came up during Ryder’s interview.

It was an ideal opportunity for Ryder to point out that this was not the first time Gibson showed his  anti-semitism.

At a party Ryder was attending with a friend, they ran into Gibson, who had sly remarks ready for both of them.

Ryder reflected:

“We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends, and Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?’”

“And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’”

The term “oven dodger” refers back to the Holocaust and Jews being incinerated in ovens. Generations since have been recipients of the derogatory nickname, implying their ancestors  dodged this horrific fate.

Ryder clarified that she did have relatives who suffered through and died during the Holocaust.

Ryder also said that Gibson attempted to apologize much later, but the damage was already done, especially given Gibson’s continued behaviors in the industry.

Twitter spoke up about this latest development, pretty mutually agreeing Mel Gibson needs to be canceled. 

This was in addition to citations of racism, domestic abuse and misogyny that were acknowledged by the industry years ago.


A representative for Gibson has not responded to any of these latest developments.

Based on the feedback being given by fans and cast stars alike, perhaps enough voices will be heard and something will change concerning repeated despicable behavior in Hollywood.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit