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)