« 'Catholicism' Series Comes to PBS | Main | And the (Disabled) Band Played On »

October 18, 2011

Downey Jr. Pleads: Forgive Mel Gibson

Downey asks Hollywood to "join me in forgiving my friend his trespasses"


In a passionate speech at Sunday night's American Cinematheque Award Ceremony, Robert Downey Jr. pleaded with Hollywood and the world to extend grace and forgiveness to Mel Gibson, just as Gibson had done for him some years ago when Downey was struggling with addictions and a tainted public image.

In the last several years, Gibson's image has taken a beating as he: was convicted of DUI and then making anti-semitic remarks; divorced his longtime wife and chased after a much younger woman; made heinous threats, taped and publicly released, against that same woman.

As Gibson joined him onstage Sunday night, Downey said, "On this special occasion . . . I would ask that you join me, unless you are completely without sin in which case you picked the wrong f---ing industry, in forgiving my friend his trespasses and offering him the same clean slate you have me, allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame."

When Downey learned that he was going to be given an achievement award at the ceremony, he requested that Gibson be his presenter. In doing so, Gibson called Downey "my friend. When I saw you all those years ago and got all those warnings, I just thought, ‘There’s nothing so much wrong with him.’ You’re a good dude with a good heart.” Gibson had helped Downey make a comeback from his own addictions by paying Downey’s insurance bond so he could star in 2003's The Singing Detective.

Watch Downey's forgiveness speech here:

(image from clip on CBS's Early Show)


Christians should be leading the way in doing forgiveness the right way and not waiting for someone else to do it. That way God gets the glory.

a true story of redemption out of Hollywood of all places. Can our Lord really speak to us thru such people? Time to once again re-read the gospels.

The call to forgiveness is universal. In this case it was extended to those whose forgiveness is required in order for Mr. Gibson's career to continue in any meaningful way. Hollywood of all places. Forgiveness extended is a testimony like no other.

powerful!!! powerful indeed.

Horray for Hollywood - a message of forgiveness without preachiness. Many of us Christians who love movies and the stories they tell need to embrace the work of Downey and Gibson as they struggle to let go of the cactus.

For a person to forgive, he must be forgiven first. For this Hollywood can do well to cease producing mind corruptive movies.

Wow! Thanks for sharing this. Kudos to Downey and to Gibson. How wonderful to be truly inspired and touched by Hollywood!

Forgiveness is all well and good. I think forgiving Gibson is a good thing. But for Downey Jr. as a white man to tell those who Gibson displayed prejudice against (Jews, Blacks, and women) that they need to forgive is not the right way to coach the discussion. The call to forgiveness should have come from someone who Gibson actually hurt.

Honestly, this kind of reminds me of all the Hollywood people rallying around Polanski and acting like the horrible things he did didn't matter because he was a "great artist".