Thomas Gibson, 12-year veteran of Criminal Minds, was terminated after the now famous kick. What actually happened? It’s hard to tell since there are a couple of versions of this story out there. Most agree to a point, but it all happened so fast. Most accounts agree Gibson’s reaction was just a reflex or automatic reaction.
Criminal Minds actor Thomas Gibson and co-producer Virgil Williams reportedly had some sort of altercation about a line in a script. The line, according to Thomas, did not fit with a previous plot line. Gibson asked Williams, who was acting as the writer of that episode to change it. Williams refused. From there it all gets pretty confusing.
Allegedly, Thomas Gibson retreated from Virgil Williams and started to walk over to where some of his co-workers were standing, most accounts agree that the actual Gibson and Williams confrontation occurred after Gibson walked away. There was the initial verbal conversation, then Thomas went toward the other cast and crew.
Criminal Minds co-producer Virgil Williams was the one who escalated the situation, according to an account from TMZ back in August.
“[S]ources say Williams escalated the verbal argument by ‘making a move’ toward Gibson in a highly aggressive manner.”
Thomas Gibson was not the initial instigator, according to this account from Page Six, back in August. Williams instigated the incident, according to an anonymous witness of the incident.
“It wasn’t like [Gibson] punched him. Williams is a boxer and a martial artist, he’s no angel. He can be very aggressive. [Williams] got very aggressive, so Thomas walked away and then he felt like the guy was coming after him. He turned around and kicked just on instinct, like a reflex.”
Criminal Minds cast and crew are probably not free to comment since litigation could be pending. Hence, they are anonymous sources. Ordinarily, such unnamed sources lack credibility, but in this case, it may be the only way witnesses can speak out at all. It is also possible these are hearsay accounts. The witness allegedly knew both parties involved, though.
Thomas Gibson, in one account, was allegedly trying to move out of William’s path as he stormed past Gibson, and if Gibson hadn’t moved Williams would have run right into him. It was then that the kick happened. Was Thomas just trying to get out of the way and inadvertently their feet and legs connected, or was it a reflexive act to fend off an aggressor? Even Gibson doesn’t seem sure, but either way, it was not a conscious or premeditated decision to kick.
Criminal Minds actor Thomas Gibson was fired due to the altercation, but originally it hardly seemed a big deal. There have been many slightly different versions of this altercation in the media, all of which seem like a minor occurrence and most come from either Gibson himself or various anonymous sources.
The Criminal Minds actor Thomas Gibson and a co-producer had an altercation, but it wasn’t perceived as all that important at first. Page Six reports that it was Thomas who first reported the incident to his own agent. Then Thomas’ agent took the matter to ABC Studio’s HR department. HR decided to suspend Gibson, not discipline Williams. A source is cited on Page Six.
“Thomas can’t be everybody’s best friend, but he’s not a villain. Everything will be back to normal soon, people move on. The cast and crew are a very solid, tight-knit family … Thomas has been with his family for the last two weeks, and he’s just getting back into the swing of things. I’m sure it’s going to be resolved, [Gibson and Virgil] will post a photo together … they’ve known each other for 12 years, and they’re together for 12 hours a day. Things happen.”
Sadly, that isn’t what happened.
Thomas Gibson was fired from Criminal Minds, and one has to wonder where that decision came from. It was alleged that Gibson’s past record of shoving a director many years ago played a role in the decision, however, Williams’ record was hardly spotless either.
Criminal Minds writer and co-producer Virgil Williams allegedly threatened to kill a 22-year-old woman for replacing him on the show’s softball team. He also threatened to ruin her career. Both Williams and Gibson have been forced to take anger management classes in the past, according to the Daily Mail.
Criminal Minds witnesses to the event and Thomas Gibson himself agree that reflexes were to blame for Gibson’s kick. Reflexes by definition are involuntary reactions that don’t even pass through the human mind. In other words, people can’t help reflexes, but they are still held accountable for them in many cases.
When supermodel Gigi Hadid was grabbed from behind in Milan, she responded with a quick elbow to the attacker’s face. Everyone cheered, at least once they heard what happened. When a stranger grabs a woman on the street and lifts her off the ground, she has the right to assume her life is in danger, whether or not it actually is.
Like Thomas Gibson, Gigi Hadid reacted to something that happened to her. Miss Hadid says she didn’t think about it, her body reacted in self-defense. She called it “muscle memory” from her boxing training. Most people would agree, Gigi was absolutely right to defend herself, but isn’t that what happened to Gibson? Just because he is a man doesn’t take away his right to have the instincts to defend himself, does it?
Criminal Minds writer Virgil Williams was not injured. No legs were broken, it was just a tap by all accounts. No one was taken to the hospital, and there are no photos of bruises or X-rays of broken bones. Apparently, Virgil is into fighting sports and surely tough enough to take a little kick on the shin from Gibson, so why is there such a fuss being made over all this?
Thomas Gibson did not punch Virgil Williams on the set of Criminal Minds. Thomas didn’t kick him as hard as he could either, nor were there any lasting effects of the impact to Virgil’s leg. As reflexes go, Gibson’s kick was a pretty mild one.
While Criminal Minds is just a TV show, apparently the writers, directors, actors, and producers are all passionate about the artistic creation of the crime drama. The stories are quite compelling and extremely complex. Shouldn’t one feel passionate about one’s creative work?
Still, Thomas Gibson and Virgil Williams should not be physically fighting over “creative differences,” at least not in today’s society. The problem is, even though our minds have been changed in regards to the social acceptability of physical violence, the human body still has reflexes and automatic reactions that reflect mankind’s violent history and the darker side of human society even now. People have self-defensive reflexes and rightfully so.
Criminal Minds is a crime drama about real reasons to have great reflexes. On Criminal Minds, characters are often abducted and murdered, and agents like Thomas Gibson’s character Aaron Hotchner have to physically take down perpetrators. The show’s premise isn’t unrealistic either.
The kinds of things shown on Criminal Minds actually happen in real life, so human beings need good reflexes, but often the conflict between mind and body about violence can make victims freeze and seal their fates. Any fan of the show has probably noticed that those dying guest stars should have fought back sooner and harder, but the societal norm of assuming there was no physical threat got them killed.
Thomas Gibson reacted, by most accounts involuntarily, by fending off with his foot someone coming straight at him. At the same time, our society forbids physical violence in the workplace and it should not happen according to various laws, regulations and societal restrictions. Still, sometimes people’s bodies just react.
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Criminal Minds subject matter is dark and violent. It’s writers, directors, cast and crew are passionate. It is understandable that tempers might be high at times, but is that any reason to destroy a successful television program that fans love? A show that incidentally generates millions of dollars in income for the studio and lucrative salaries for actors?
Thomas Gibson’s absence from the show has come at a high price. Ratings have dropped powerfully this season. Why can’t ABC Studio let the incident pass simply because it is best for the show? None of the anonymous witnesses thought it should have been such a big deal. So why is it?
Thomas Gibson’s agent obviously didn’t think Gibson would be fired over the incident or he would not have reported it to HR. According to the anonymous source, no one on the cast or crew though it was a major issue either. HR suspended Gibson, only later was the decision made to fire Thomas. Who made that decision and why? Why is ABC sticking to that decision despite plummeting ratings, an online twitter protest and growing resentment among fans? That is the real mystery of all this.
Thomas Gibson of Criminal Minds is missed by fans enough to wreck the ratings, so why not forgive and forget?
[Featured Image by Francois Durand/Getty Images]