Downey Jr Defends ‘Next Guy’ Mel Gibson From Critics

Upon accepting his American Cinematheque award on Friday, Robert Downey Jr used the stage to plead forgiveness for Hollywood outcast Mel Gibson.

He thanked Gibson for casting him in Air America while his reputation was at a low. “I couldn’t get hired and he cast me… and if he helped me, I would help the next guy. But it was not reasonable to assume the next guy would be him.”

Downey Jr added, “Unless you are without sin – and if you are, you are in the wrong f***ing industry, you should forgive him and let him work.” The audience applauded his message.

Currently, there are few actors who are blacklisted like Gibson. The former A-lister can’t find roles due to anti-Semitic comments he made in 2006 and the emergence of tapes in which he trashed his ex-girlfriend using racial slurs.

Since then, the once-leading actor has been shut out by the movie industry despite numerous apologies for his comments. Gibson said of Downey Jr, “He taught me many things and I will use the ‘C’ word, courage. There’s nothing so much wrong with him. Of course you have to worry about the guy making the judgment here. He’s a good dude with a good heart.”

Downey Jr’s support of Gibson raises an interesting question. How much should personal misconduct interfere with an actor’s ability to get work and at what point do you forgive them their wrongdoing and give them another shot? The Iron Man star has had one of the greatest comeback stories in Hollywood history and perhaps one day Gibson will as well.