Mel Gibson has been accused by a Guatemalan official of racially insulting the Mayan civilisation in his new movie APOCALYPTO. Guatemala's presidential commissioner on racism, RICARDO CAJAS, believes the Hollywood blockbuster has hindered understanding of the Mayan people, and the negative images of their civilisation in Apocalypto have set it back 50 years. More than half of the population of Guatemala are descended from the original Mayans. Cajas says, "It's a case of Western civilisation imposing its view about other civilisations. "It shows the Mayans as a barbarous, murderous people that can only be saved by the arrival of the Spanish." Cajas' comments follow those of IGNACIO OCHOA, director of the Nahual Foundation that promotes Mayan culture, who criticised the movie last month (DEC06). He says, "Gibson replays... an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserved, in fact, needed, rescue." This is not the first time the Oscar winner has been accused of racism. Gibson was arrested in California last July (06) on suspicion of drink-driving and made anti-Semitic comments to his arresting officers.