On Friday at the American Cinematheque award ceremony, Robert Downey Jr, asked Hollywood to forgive his good buddy Mel Gibson. Isn’t that sweet everyone, one douchebag looking out for another.
Collecting his American Cinematheque award on Friday, the Iron Man actor said it was Gibson who landed him a role on the film Air America when his name was mud due to an ongoing struggle with substance use.
“I couldn’t get hired and he cast me,” he said. “He said if I accepted responsibility – he called it hugging the cactus – long enough, my life would take meaning. 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 fucking industry, you should forgive him and let him work.” His comments were met with widespread applause.
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.” (source)
He’s a good guy is he? Wow, calling a police officer “sugar tits” and then following that up with Anti-Semitic comments so terrible, that they would have been celebrated at a Nazi rally makes him a good man. Oh but wait, there was alcohol involved in that incident, so we should give him a pass right? The alcohol didn’t lower his inhibitions enough for him to say what he really felt, and people never ever mean anything they say or do when they have been drinking right?
Poor Mel Gibson, was it really all that bad when he told his ex girlfriend that she was a slut and called her a whore and a cunt repeatedly? I mean, you cannot really expect a sexist douchebag to be silent when his woman gets out of line. As a White man of privilege, he absolutely had to warn her that she was opening herself up to be raped by a roving gang of niggers. No good God fearing White woman wants that. We know that White men have been using this ploy to cause a division between White women and Black men for centuries, and so is it really fair to hold Mel Gibson accountable for something that has become common White male behaviour? Mel Gibson is after all a straight, cis, God fearing, rich White man, and people should have pity on him. How much burden and hardship can one man possibly carry?
I suppose that because Downey’s father was half Jewish, he believes that puts him in the position to ask for forgiveness for Gibson’s Antisemitism, but that is not enough, as far as I am concerned. In terms of Gibson’s racist and sexist commentary, Downey personally benefits from the forgiveness of that language and or behavior, as a White man. You cannot call for forgiveness, when you yourself benefit because it comes across as self interested and furthermore; since Downey was not the one offended and or harmed, who is Downey to say that enough is enough? Oh I know, I know, douchebags of a feather.
I am sure that Downey would have given that a moments thought, if his mind was not so occupied with keeping up his own activities as a douchebag. Downey was moved to ask that Hollywood give Mel another chance, because Mel helped him when no one wanted to employ him to due his issues with addiction. Mel may have given Downey the second chance that few were willing to do, but one good act years ago, does not give Mel an ongoing pass on his clearly horrendous behaviour. There is also the little matter that hiring Downey, means that it put him in a position to do some really cool Blackface in Tropic of Thunder. Yeah for second chances.
I am actually kind of surprised that Mel continues to be a pariah, considering that Hollywood has proven time and time again that even the most atrocious acts can be excused and forgiven. Think for a moment of the long list of actors that stood up to defend Roman Polanski, with Whoopie Goldberg leading the pack in my opinion, by questioning if it Polanski committed “rape rape.”
Mel has tried to apologize, claiming that the repeated rants that were recorded by then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, did not reflect his true belief system, and to that I say uh huh. Mel is about as believable as Tracy Morgan on his current apology tour, or Micheal Richards, when he showed up on Letterman to apologize for his own racist rant, with his good buddy Jerry Seinfeld to back him up. If any of these apologies were indeed heartfelt, then these men would have realized that saying sorry does not magically erase the harm done, nor does it entitle them to forgiveness. Part of owning ones actions, is accepting the consequences that come with it.
The one thing that Richards, Morgan and Gibson have in common, is that their hate was captured in such a way as to make it impossible to deny. Let’s face facts, if they were not caught, they would not be apologizing or owning their behaviour in anyway. Their apologies stand simply as a bid to get their heinous behaviour swept under the rug, so that they can go on enjoying their lives without having to deal with the pesky hurt feelings of those they have offended and harmed. Even if Mel Gibson were to release a movie tomorrow, I can think of a million better things to spend my money on, and hopefully there are plenty of people who feel exactly like me. Until Gibson can prove that he is trying to make amends, or he begins to openly challenge his White male privilege, I see no reason to invest anything in him. A second chance, if there ever is to be one, should be something earned.