While accepting an award from the American Cinematheque at the Beverly Hills Hilton, Robert Downey Jr. urged Hollywood to give Mel Gibson another chance: "I urge you to forgive my friend his trespasses. Allow him to pursue this art without shame."
Gibson has become something of an industry pariah after taped phone calls during which he had used racial slurs and threatened to beat his estranged girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.
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Prior to that, Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks when he was arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence.
Gibson was dropped from a cameo in 'Hangover 2 after cast-members rebelled, but Warner Brothers did make a deal with the actor-director to explore an action film about a Biblical-era Jewish rebellion against oppressors. That too has drawn angry responses from Jewish leaders.
After Downey's imprisonment and arrests on drug charges made him uninsurable and prevented him from being hired in Hollywood, it was Gibson who stepped up and paid his insurance bond on the 2003 film “The Singing Detective."
“He kept a roof over my head and put food on my table,” Downey remembered. It is reasonable to assume he didn’t know the next guy would be him."
However, as Downey has demonstrated, Hollywood loves a comeback.
As “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau said of Downey at one point during the evening: “Not since Joseph in the Bible went from prison to prophecy has someone elevated themselves from so low.”