Even though it wasn't until Friday that William Morris Endeavor officially announced that it was dropping Mel Gibson as a client, rival talent agencies had figured Gibson's days at WME were numbered when the agency took out trade ads paying tribute to Gibson's agent, Ed Limato, who died on July 3 after a lengthy illness.
The memorial ads featured photos of Limato with his top clients, who included Denzel Washington, Steve Martin and Richard Gere. But there were no photos of Limato with Gibson, who had been Limato's client for years, staying with him through the agent's moves from William Morris to ICM and then back to Morris, remaining at WME after Morris and Endeavor merged last year.
"That's when we knew Gibson was gone," said a rival agency head. "They couldn't keep him after what he'd said."
In case you missed the coverage, Gibson, who'd been a subject of controversy after launching into a booze-fueled anti-Semitic rant in 2006, is in hot water again after tapes surfaced of him yelling obscenities and insults at his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, including a variety of vile racist slurs using what is known in polite society as the N-word. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has reportedly opened a domestic violence investigation into Gibson's actions against Grigorieva, who has claimed that the actor abused her on several occasions.
The whole Gibson affair has offered a fascinating glimpse into what you might call Hollywood situational ethics. After all, it was WME czar Ari Emanuel, when he was running Endeavor, who was one of the few leading industry figures who called out Gibson for his anti-Semitic insults, writing a piece in the Huffington Post arguing that what Gibson had done was beyond the pale.