Gibson 'verbally abused' photographer

SYDNEY • Police were investigating claims on Monday that controversial Hollywood star Mel Gibson allegedly shoved and verbally abused an Australian photographer during an angry altercation.

Ms Kristi Miller, a news photographer with Sydney's Daily Telegraph, said she had taken two pictures of Gibson leaving a cinema in the city with Ms Rosalind Ross, 24, on Sunday evening when the actor aggressively confronted her.

"I took two frames and then I ran to get in front of them," she told the newspaper. "I turned around with my back to them and ran forward and the next thing I knew he had shoved me in the back from behind."

She described the actor as "out of control" as he charged after her, spitting in her face and calling her a "dog". "I was just shocked that I was being pushed," she claimed.

New South Wales police said they were investigating the incident.

"Police were told a man became involved in an altercation with a photographer. He allegedly pushed the photographer," they said in statement to Agence France- Presse.

Gibson's management in the United States denied any physical contact between the star of Braveheart and Lethal Weapon and the photographer. "There was no physical contact whatsoever with this photographer, who was harassing my client and his friend," the actor's representative, Mr Alan Nierob, told the Telegraph in an e-mail.

Ms Miller alleged that Gibson, 59, continued to lash out at her until he was led away by an apologetic Ms Ross.

The Oscar winner, who is in Australia to direct World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, has not been without controversy in recent years.

He was caught on tape in 2006 making an anti-Semitic rant at a US sheriff's deputy who had arrested him for drink driving.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2015, with the headline 'Gibson 'verbally abused' photographer'. Print Edition | Subscribe