Robert Downey Jr. Thanked Mel Gibson At The SAG Awards... And People Have Questions

The Marvel star gave shoutouts to a long list of actors while accepting the Best Supporting Actor – but one stuck out like a sore thumb.
Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson pictured together in 2011
Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson pictured together in 2011
Eric Charbonneau via Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr.’s decision to thank Mel Gibson at the SAG Awards is making some film fans wince.

The Oppenheimer star included the Braveheart actor in a long list of performers he name-checked while accepting the Best Supporting Actor honour at Saturday’s ceremony in Los Angeles.

Putting the problematic performer alongside the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kenneth Branagh, Robert acknowledged all the “talented artists” he’s “learned so much from, up close, over these last 40 years”.

However, to many, Mel’s name stuck out like a sore thumb.

Once one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, the his career has since been overshadowed by his fondness for racist, antisemitic and homophobic remarks and admitted history of domestic abuse.

Online, the reactions were strong.

People wondering why Robert included Mel didn’t have to search hard for an answer, however.

While Mel has proven his prejudice was not just a one-off, Robert has pleaded with Hollywood to forgive the Passion Of The Christ director, who he says literally saved his life and career by helping him get cast in his 2003 comeback, The Singing Detective, following a string of controversies that culminated with a three-year prison stint in the late ’90s.

“I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in the lead of a movie that was actually developed for him. And he kept a roof over my head… and he kept food on the table,” Robert told attendees of the American Cinematheque awards in 2011.

There, he asked audiences to forgive “my friend his trespasses, offering him the same clean slate you have given me and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame”.

Watch Robert’s full SAG Awards speech below:


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