Mel Gibson on Wednesday denied he had once asked actress Winona Ryder if she was an “oven dodger.”
“This is 100% untrue. She lied about it over a decade ago, when she talked to the press, and she’s lying about it now. Also, she lied about him trying to apologize to her back then. He did reach out to her, many years ago, to confront her about her lies and she refused to address it with him,” a representative for Gibson told the TooFab celebrity tabloid site.
Ryder talked about her experiences with anti-Semitism in Hollywood as part of a wide-ranging interview published in the London-based Sunday Times.
“There was a movie that I was up for a long time ago, it was a period piece, and the studio head, who was Jewish, said I looked ‘too Jewish’ to be in a blue-blooded family,” Ryder told newspaper.
The incident with Gibson, at a party in 1995, was first reported in an interview in GQ in 2010. Ryder said that when something came up in the conversation about Jews, the actor-director said, “You’re not an oven dodger, are you?” – a reference to the ovens that cremated the bodies of inmates in Nazi extermination camps. She added that Gibson later tried to apologize for the remark.
Ryder was born Winona Lauren Horowitz in Winona, Minnesota.
Speaking of her Judaism, Ryder said that she is “not religious, but I do identify. It’s a hard thing for me to talk about because I had family who died in the camps, so I’ve always been fascinated with that time.”
She also said: “There are times when people have said, ‘Wait, you’re Jewish? But you’re so pretty!’”
Ryder recently appeared in the HBO miniseries “The Plot Against America” based on the novel by Philip Roth.