NO stranger to controversy, Mel Gibson has stoked the flames once more by saluting Donald Trump in a gesture that has thrown the spotlight back on the Hollywood star’s headline past.


Braveheart himself?

The 1995 historical saga Braveheart, directed by Gibson and starring him as William Wallace, won him the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture and remains one of his most famous roles, along with his iconic appearances in movie franchises such as Lethal Weapon and Mad Max.


What’s he been up to?

The New York-born actor, now 65 - who moved to Sydney, Australia, with his family as a child - was spotted saluting former president Donald Trump at a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) match in Las Vegas between mixed martial artists Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. A TikTok video featuring the salute - showing Gibson raising his right hand to his head as Trump entered the arena and walked past him - instantly went viral.


What has Gibson said?

The star has not commented on the salute, but in a separate video on UFC’s Twitter page, his presence at the event was highlighted and he said he wanted to see “a good match” ahead of the bout.


It hasn’t gone down well?

Some of the online reaction included Trump fans declaring Gibson “a true patriot”, while other remarks ranged from straightforward “Mel Gibson trending, time to log off” from Meena Harris, niece of the current Vice President of the US, Kamala Harris, to other posts accusing the star of racism and saying “There is no such thing as cancel culture if Mel Gibson isn’t cancelled by now.”


He has given no indication of being a Trump fan in the past?

Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, as Trump vied with Hillary Clinton, Gibson said “the choices we have are, they’re not good choices at the moment…” And he said of Trump’s plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico that it was “nonsensical”.


But he has sparked controversy in the past?

In 2006, he made widely reported anti-Semitic comments when he was arrested for drink-driving, accusing Jews of being responsible for “all the wars in the world; later saying this did not reflect his true feelings and apologising to "everyone in the Jewish community”. In 2010, he was heard in a voicemail to his former partner Oksana Grigorieva that if “you get raped by a pack of n*****s, it will be your fault.”


As for Gibson?

Said to be worth around $475 million, the father-of-nine has admitted his political incorrectness in the past. He told Fox News in the US last year: “Who the hell cares what I think? I’m not an expert – what am I qualified to talk about? It’s alright. It allows you a sense of anonymity so that in your performance you can come out and just be anything; you’re not already carrying a lot of baggage.” He added: “I am politically incorrect, that’s true. Political correctness to me is just intellectual terrorism.”