Mel Gibson has once again provoked controversy by getting involved in an angry exchange of words with an academic at a screening of his last film Apocalypto.

The actor turned director was holding a question and answer session at California State University, Northridge, when he was accused of conforming to negative central American stereotypes in the three-time Oscar nominated movie.

To the shock of the 130 students in attendance he reacted to the remarks by Alicia Estrada, an assistant professor of central American studies, by swearing and telling her she was a "troublemaker".

Estrada was then forced to leave the screening, but she later claimed: "In no way was my question aggressive in the way that he responded to it.

"These are questions that my peers, my colleagues, ask me every time I make a presentation. These are questions I pose to my students in the classroom," she went on to say.

"I demand an apology not only to myself but to the Mayan community specifically and to this university."

But Gibson's representative Alan Nierob hit back by saying: "Why would he apologise? The event organizers threw the heckler out, not Mel.

"This person was a heckler who was rude and disrupted the event, so much so that the event organisers had to escort her out."

Apocalpyto was a box office success in the US but has been criticised for its portrayal of the Mayan civilization as bloodthirsty savages.

24/03/2007 18:37:03