In a weird new twist on an already really bizarre scenario, Oksana Grigorieva, the estranged wife of Mel Gibson, asked a judge to reimburse her for $84,000 she claims she spent on a PR push to counter the public perception that she sold the infamous tapes of Gibson being racist and violent, which, for Gibson, is pretty much status quo. Aside from the fact that, as reported by TMZ, "the judge would never award money for PR expenses," it's hard to imagine a more ineffective use of $84,000 -- not because it didn't help to alter that perception, but because it was a perception nobody cared about in the first place.
Back in July, when the tapes were released, "sources" told TMZ (which is not exactly a wellspring of journalistic integrity, we'll acknowledge) that Grigorieva had tried to extort Gibson to the tune of more than $10 million to keep the tapes quiet. But even TMZ acknowledged that the sources were affiliated with Gibson. Still, the Gibson camp convinced the L.A. Sheriff's Department in late July to open an investigation into the claims, which is still ongoing.
But that whole investigation has been virtually ignored by everybody in favor of the tapes themselves, which feature Gibson reaching new heights of racism and white anger even for him -- also, interestingly, without any trace of an Australian accent, even though he's from Australia. That's not really related; it's just kind of odd. At any rate, whether she was trying to extort him or not, Gibson's hateful screed pretty much trumped whatever methods she might have used to put it out there.
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Legal fees stemming from the sheriff's investigation, sure -- that's an understandable expense. But the public perception of Oksana Grigorieva is about the least of the problems of Oksana Grigorieva; to the extent that Grigorieva represents anything more than a target for the psychotic rage of an iconic celebrity unraveling at a startling pace, she's certainly got public sympathy on her side. But mostly, she's beside the point. The point is, and always has been, Mel Gibson. They're both fascinating in the way car wrecks or building implosions are fascinating -- but Gibson's implosion will always be the more spectacular, if only because Grigorieva was never in Mad Max.