It was a short reign for actor-director Mel Gibson as co-Grand Marshal of the 2023 Krewe of Endymion Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans.

Some 16 hours after announcing that he would be joining Tulane University football coach Willie Fritz in the aforementioned duties, the Krewe rescinded its invitation on Sunday, citing safety concerns and threats.

On Saturday night at Endymion's annual coronation ball, Gibson's role in the parade was unveiled. Attendees were told that both Gibson and Fritz would lead Endymion and its more than 3,000 riding members during its Carnival parade through Mid-City and into the Morial Convention Center on Saturday, February 18.

Columbia Pictures' "Father Stu" Photo Call
Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

But soon after word got out, there was public outcry, specifically from local Jewish leaders, given Gibson's history of antisemitic and offensive remarks.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council issued a joint statement saying they were "appalled that Endymion chose Mel Gibson as the parade's 2023 Grand Marshal to begin with."

The statement also said the following:

Mel Gibson has a long history of making antisemitic, racist and misogynistic slurs. While the actor has made half-hearted attempts to apologize for his remarks over the years, there is still a great deal of pain associated with his name and deep wounds in the Jewish community from those controversies, which may never heal. Given his history of fueling antisemitism and other forms of hate, we find his choice as Grand Marshal of Endymion was completely insulting and shortsighted.

Although we are relieved he is no longer riding, we hope the Endymion leadership will take the opportunity to learn why the selection of Mel Gibson caused such pain and disappointment to the Jewish community, as well as the marginalized communities he has harmed in the past.

The Krewe has not yet said if they would be replacing Gibson or letting Fritz serve alone as grand marshal.

Krewe of Endymion
Krewe of Endymion

Fritz, 62, just completed his seventh season as head coach of the Tulane Green Wave football team. His club just capped off a magical season with a thrilling 46-45 comeback win over USC in the Cotton Bowl.

The team made an amazing turnaround, going from a 2-10 team last year to 12-2 in 2022.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the city in addressing the issues that will allow us to present another wonderful parade this year along our entire route,” Endymion President Dan Kelly said. “We will move forward with our final preparations in the coming weeks for the largest procession in Carnival.”

The theme of Endymion's 57th annual parade is "Endymion Salutes the Poets."

Following the parade, the Endymion Extravaganza will take place at the Morial Convention Center, with musical guests Darius Rucker and Foreigner leading the bill.

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