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Hangover 2 Director Todd Phillips is speaking out about axing Mel Gibson from The Hangover 2.

"He's one of our finest actors and, quite honestly, one of our finest directors," Phillips tells Entertainment Tonight. "But The Hangover 2 is a family ... and as much as I loved the idea, a lot of people didn't ... I didn't want anything to come in between that family."

Gibson, 54, was originally offered a cameo role as a tattoo artist, but he was replaced with Liam Neeson after the cast objected, reported last week.

Zach Galifianakis was reportedly among the cast members who opposed the hiring of Gibson, whose reputation was tarnished this year after his ugly expletive-ridden, racist rants to ex Oksana Grigorieva were leaked online.

At Monday's Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills, Galifianakis, 41, joked about the drama, E! News reports.

After proclaiming Phillips "the worst Jew in Hollywood," Galifianakis cracked, "that's an inside joke."

During his 2006 DUI bust, Gibson famously told his arresting officer, "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."