Mel Gibson gave him a job when he was down and out, and now Robert Downey Jr. wants to return the favor. While accepting an American Cinematheque Award last Friday, he made a passionate plea to the audience, which was made up of Hollywood insiders. “Unless you are without sin — and if you are, you are in the wrong f–king industry — you should forgive him and let him work,” Downey said about Gibson, who has managed to get himself in plenty of hot water since going on a drunken anti-semitic tirade in 2006 while being arrested for DUI. He managed to dig himself a deeper hole when taped phone calls in which he threatened to hurt his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, also the mother of his youngest daughter, were released to the media last year, making him even more of a risk for producers.
Although Jodie Foster cast him in The Beaver before the tapes became public, she unfortunately bore the brunt of his unpopularity when the movie bombed. However, Robert continued his plea for Gibson, who was present at the ceremony, saying, “There’s nothing so much wrong with him… He’s a good dude with a good heart. Mel and I have the same lawyer, same publicist, and same shrink. I couldn’t get hired and he cast me,” Downey Jr. said, referring to Gibson casting him as the lead in the 2003 movie The Singing Detective, the first movie Robert was in since 2000, when he was fired from the cast of the hit TV series Ally McBeal following numerous arrests for drug abuse. “He said if I accepted responsibility,” Downey Jr. continued, “…my life would take meaning. And if he helped me, I would help the next guy. But it was not reasonable to expect the next guy would be him.”