Mel Gibson will not be coming back for the upcoming Chicken Run 2. The animated sequel, which is slated to begin production last year, won't be asking Gibson to reprise his role of Rocky from the first film, which hit theaters back in 2000.
The decision to re-cast Gibson's character comes after some years-old comments he'd allegedly made at Winona Ryder, according to The Wrap. The Stranger Things star recalled the incident in an interview with the Sunday Times, which took place at a Hollywood party back in 1995. "Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we're all talking, and he said to my friend, who's gay, 'Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?'" the actor recalled. "And then something came up about Jews, and he said, 'You're not an oven dodger, are you?'"
A spokesperson for Gibson has called the allegations "100 percent untrue" and denied them outright. "She lied about it over a decade ago, when she talked to the press, and she's lying about it now," the representative said. "Also, she lied about him trying to apologize to her back then. He did reach out to her, many years ago, to confront her about her lies, and she refused to address it with him."
This scandal isn't the first time Gibson has been accused of making racist remarks. Back in 2006, he was arrested in California for driving under intoxication. According to the arrest report, the Braveheart star exploded into an angry tirade when the arresting officer would not allow him to drive home. "F—ing Jews," Gibson said at the time. "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?" He's also come under fire for his new film, Forces of Nature, where he plays the white hero of a movie set against the backdrop of a hurricane in Puerto Rico, which has been accused of being tasteless in the wake of current events.
Chicken Run 2 will be produced by Aardman films and distributed by Netflix and intends to pick up where the first film left off. Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha in Chicken Run) was a chicken who had finally found her dream of a life with her flock on a peaceful island. When she and Rocky (Gibson's Chicken Run character) hatch a little girl called Molly, her happy ending seems complete. Though that changes when all chickens are faced with a new, terrifying threat. Even though it puts their newfound freedom in jeopardy, Ginger risks it all to save them. While Gibson likely won't be returning, it's unclear if co-stars Sawalha, Phil Daniels, Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall will be returning either.