Alicia Estrada: Clashes with Mel Gibson over Apocalypto

Historians in the News

Mel Gibson exchanged angry words with a university professor who challenged the accuracy of his film "Apocalypto" at an on-campus screening.

Gibson was answering questions from the crowd at California State University, Northridge, Thursday night when Alicia Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American studies, accused the actor-director of misrepresenting the Mayan culture in the movie.

Gibson directed an expletive at the woman, who was removed from the crowd.

"In no way was my question aggressive in the way that he responded to it," Estrada said. "These are questions that my peers, my colleagues, ask me every time I make a presentation. These are questions I pose to my students in the classroom."

Gibson's publicist, Alan Nierob, characterized the professor as "a heckler."

"The woman ... was rude and disruptive inasmuch as the event organizers had to escort her out," Nierob said.

Lauren Robeson, editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Daily Sundial, said Gibson denounced Estrada as a troublemaker.

"It was a brief disruption to an otherwise interesting, stimulating event from our students' perspectives," said university spokesman John Chandler. "The students were very appreciative of Mr. Gibson being there. He spent a lot of time answering questions about moviemaking."

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