Fact Check

Did Mel Gibson Decline a $35M Role in Rob Reiner's Upcoming Movie?

"Can't handle his wokeness," Gibson supposedly said.

Published Dec 12, 2023

 (Chris Unger / Getty Images)
Image Via Chris Unger / Getty Images
A December 2023 article accurately claims that Mel Gibson turned down a movie role worth $35 million because he thought director Rob Reiner was too "woke."

On Dec. 9, 2023, SpaceXMania.com published an article positing that Mel Gibson had "shunned" a role in an upcoming Rob Reiner movie because he was too woke. The article, which began as follows, claimed that Reiner, who is known for directing "When Harry Met Sally," "The Princess Bride" and "A Few Good Men," is working on a new film titled "A Woke Odyssey."

“Can’t Handle His Wokeness”: Mel Gibson Shuns ‘Woke’ Rob Reiner’s $35 Million Project

In the latest twist in Hollywood’s never-ending saga of creative collaborations, Mel Gibson has taken a bold stand against what he perceives as an invasion of wokeness in the industry. The actor, known for his candid remarks and a career that has weathered its fair share of storms, has recently refused to participate in Rob Reiner’s $35 million project, declaring Reiner to be “too much woke” for his liking. In this satirical take on the situation, we explore the comical intricacies of Gibson’s rejection and the theatrical war on wokeness that seems to be playing out in the world of Tinseltown.

While the article does use the word "satirical," in its opening paragraph, a large red flag suggesting it is not a real story, the word's usage in context does imply that the situation happened.

However, the story is not a factual recounting of real-life events, and is in fact satirical — SpaceXMania tagged the story as such on its website, too. While SpaceXMania does publish non-satirical content very occasionally, its main focus is satire, as the website explains on its disclaimer page:

Please note that the article under the category “SATIRE” are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. These articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up. We make no claim that the information presented in these articles is true or accurate.

Readers should exercise caution and use their own judgment when reading and interpreting our satirical articles. We take no responsibility for any actions taken based on the content of these articles.

However, when the story was shared on SpaceXMania's Facebook page SpaceX Lovers, there was no indication that the story was satirical. Many of the over 6,000 comments left on the post implied that many people believed the story was real.

The basic structure of this claim (Celebrity X refuses to work with Celebrity Y for being "too woke") could be the beginning of a new trend on satirical news sites. Snopes has already checked two: a claim about Jim Caviezel and Robert De Niro and a different claim about Gibson and De Niro.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


“Can’t Handle His Wokeness”: Mel Gibson Shuns ‘Woke’ Rob Reiner’s $35 Million Project. 10 Dec. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/cant-handle-his-wokeness-mel-gibson-shuns-woke-rob-reiners-35-million-project/.

Disclaimer - SpaceXMania. 3 Jan. 2021, https://spacexmania.com/disclaimer/.

Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SpaceXElon/posts/pfbid09NP5XUtgziDaZK71cDDbXzyst8oyuz31aDRQzp8zpj4JsWv6hiyLAij2KhHGpsNJl. Accessed 12 Dec. 2023.

Izzo, Jack. “Did Jim Caviezel Refuse To Work With Robert De Niro Because He Was ‘Ungodly’?” Snopes, 6 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jim-caviezel-robert-de-niro/.

PerryCook, Taija. “Did Mel Gibson Back Out of $33M Project with Robert De Niro?” Snopes, 8 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/mel-gibson-robert-de-niro-33-million-project/.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.