Fact Check

Did Mel Gibson Back Out of $33M Project with Robert De Niro?

“You can only handle so much of him before you just want to haul off and punch him in the neck," Gibson reportedly said.

Published Dec 7, 2023

 ( Getty Images)
Image Via Getty Images
In December 2023, Mel Gibson backed out of a $33 million project with Robert De Niro, calling him "creepy."

On Dec. 5, 2023, the Dunning-Kruger Times published an article positing that Mel Gibson, American actor, producer, and director, had pulled out of a $33 million project with American actor and filmmaker Robert De Niro. According to the article, Gibson called De Niro "creepy."

A related Facebook post, from account @America - Love It Or Leave It – a self-described subsidiary of the Dunning-Kruger Times – garnered over 16,000 reactions and 3,100 comments, at the time of this writing.

The article began:

Mel Gibson Backs Out of $33 Million Project with “Creepy” Robert DeNiro

Mel Gibson was slated to begin working on a $33 million project with the Gumba Production Company, owned and operated by Robert DeNiro. When he heard that DeNiro himself would be taking a role in the film, he backed out.

“He’s a creepy little guy,” said Gibson, “You can only handle so much of him before you just want to haul off and punch him in the neck.”

These comments were never made by Gibson; and this article was entirely made up for clicks. The Dunning-Kruger Times describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you’re still having an issue with that satire thing.

Robert De Niro has recently been made the subject of numerous articles and online derision, including from former U.S. President Donald Trump, who called him a "total loser" following De Niro's decision to call Trump in his speech introducing an honor for "Killers of the Flower Moon," in which he appeared. The speech was given at the Gotham Awards ceremony on Nov. 27, and he accused Trump of "lying to us over 30,000 times during his four years in office," among other things (according to The Washington Post, Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims over the course of four years).

"History isn't history any more," De Niro said, criticizing Florida for teaching its students incorrect history. "Truth is not truth. Even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness."

We've previously debunked other articles related to De Niro published by the Dunning-Kruger Times, such as that Jim Caviezel, American actor who played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," refused to work with him because he was "ungodly."

The satirical article finished: "We hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of 'punishing Robert DeNiro.' If it gets enough clicks he’ll get fired from all kinds of stuff. God Bless America."

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


‘De Niro Goes Off-Teleprompter, Off-Script, Off Rocker’. National Review, 6 Dec. 2023, https://www.nationalreview.com/2023/12/de-niro-goes-off-teleprompter-off-script-off-rocker/.

‘Jim Caviezel’. Wikipedia, 19 Nov. 2023. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jim_Caviezel&oldid=1185815262.

Izzo, Jack. ‘Did Jim Caviezel Refuse to Work With Robert De Niro Because He Was “Ungodly”?’ Snopes, 6 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jim-caviezel-robert-de-niro/.

Kessler, Glenn, et al. ‘Analysis | Trump’s False or Misleading Claims Total 30,573 over 4 Years’. Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2021. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/24/trumps-false-or-misleading-claims-total-30573-over-four-years/.

“KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON” Receives The Gotham Historical Icon & Creator Tributewww.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoG5Cvm0_jQ. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Patriot, Flagg Eagleton-. ‘Mel Gibson Backs Out of $33 Million Project with “Creepy” Robert DeNiro’. Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, 5 Dec. 2023, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/mel-gibson-backs-out-of-33-million-project-with-creepy-robert-deniro/.

Taija PerryCook is a Seattle-based journalist who previously worked for the PNW news site Crosscut and the Jordan Times in Amman.