(Tokyo-Japan) Toyota Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda announced today that “Edge of Darkness” star Mel Gibson would be the new spokesman for the company’s Prius brand, which has been plagued with the minor defect of not stopping when the driver wants.
The announcement came on the heels of a press conference earlier this week that many auto industry analysts believe didn’t go far enough in addressing the issue. At the conference, Toyoda, who is the grandson of the company’s founder, admitted that Toyota let its customers down. Toyoda apologized but stopped short of a total recall claiming, “Toyota’s cars are safe, most of them anyway.”
While the flaw is confined only to the Prius, which involves the software controlling the anti-lock braking system, it effected approximately 124 cars in the United States. Toyoda cited this statistic when introducing Mel Gibson as the new spokesman. “If one considers how many words the noted actor has uttered throughout his life compared to those which are offensive, the result is negligible. This is not a loss of face. A loss of an eyebrow perhaps.”
Toyoda was referring to Gibson, thinking he was off camera, calling a reporter an “a**hole” after the reporter asked him about his 2006 DUI conviction during which the actor ranted against women and Jews. The actor later told another reporter who asked him about this recent incident, “I have a short fuse. But I’m working on it. So, f*ck off.”
See Mel give ’em hell below.
A reporter asked Toyoda about Gibson’s anti-Semitic remarks: Does Toyota support this type of behavior? The CEO became visibly angry. “As Mr. Gibson said, ‘Dude, I’ve moved passed this.’ And anyone who would say such a thing, thinking we condone prejudice, must have forgotten the years of humiliation the Japanese people had to endure from Jerry Lewis’ impersonations, not to mention Mickey Rooney in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”.
Toyoda said that Gibson and the Prius brand are made stronger by their imperfections. Both deliver incomparable performances, though they can go “in unexpected directions that is the thrill of car and man.”
Gibson was present by a satellite hook-up. The actor said, “I’m pleased to be representing the Prius. Like the culture that invented it, a half-hour after you drive it, you just want to drive it again. Yes, it’s that great!”
The press conference tone changed somewhat when Gibson thought he was off the satellite feed and commented, “I’m going to make some major yen off of these rice eaters.” But Toyoda recovered by adding, “Still not a loss of face, a nose…an ear and nose at most.”
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