Powerful Video: Robert Downey Jr. Asks Hollywood to Forgive Mel Gibson

I posted this video to AmP Facebook and Twitter last night and it drew a strong positive response:

“Hugging the cactus” — now that’s a powerful image.

I think you can figure out the backstory. Frank Weathers discusses it. Evidently the event organizers had no idea that Robert Downey Jr. had this planned. They chose Mel Gibson to introduce Downey because they were “concerned a bit about Robert’s checkered past, so they chose someone to present the award who could help balance that out and the choice was so obvious, Mel Gibson.”

Well, they ended up getting a whole lot more than “balance” — they got a peak at what forgiveness looks like as well as the eternal offer of redemption.

I’ve written recently about my hopes that Mel Gibson overcomes his (many) personal demons and seeks and finds forgiveness for his numerous public sins. Too often we can generalize that Hollywood is full of immoral people and forget that, even here, grace and mercy are sometimes powerfully at work.

As for Downey Jr., I outed him as a closet papist long ago — when an AmP reader spotted him wearing a John Paul II t-shirt on Good Morning America:

Downey Jr. talked in 2004 to the New York Times about his experience with the Catholic faith while in prison:

Q. Are you religious? Many people find God as part of their recovery process and there seem to be veiled references in a few of the songs.

A. I’m not above it. But like Jung said about people using religion to avoid a religious experience, I have managed handily to avoid a religious experience. I don’t know where I fall. Spiritual Green Party? There were times when I was into the whole Hare Krishna thing, which is pretty far out. Now I would call myself a Jew-Bu, a Jewish-Buddhist. But there were many times when Catholicism saved my butt.

Q. You were a practicing Catholic?

A.I was in as much when I was on the B yard and they asked me, “Are you going to Catholic services or Presbyterian services?” I think I’m going to Catholic because they just give you more stuff. More candles and there’s a whole calendar where this day you read this, the next day you read that. It’s like a call sheet for spirituality.

God calls everyone, even the broken heroes of Hollywood.



  • Richard G Evans

    I totally agree with forgiving him…however it would be wonderful to see or hear a public apology to his former wife, to his children, to our “elders in the Faith” the Jewish people, to those who were so moved by “Passion of the Christ” and then devastated when he gave so many unbelievers reason to blaspheme it, and to any others who were thrown under the bus by his actions of recent years. To all who he has hurt in other words–that is what is called upon in AA and also in Christianity in general. Until then I will pray for him but not support or enable his career.

    I pray this does not come across as hateful–I have done plenty of stupid and in fact awful things in my time–but I never found peace until I took the hard steps which he apparently has yet to take.

    • Ann Johnson


      Your post definitely did not come across hateful. I understand what you are saying about the need to make things right. I’m not sure I agree with the public part, but that’s okay. You do know he has already apologized profusely for the Jewish comments, right? And still some Jewish leaders will not let it go. IMO there’s really not anything more Mel Gibson can do for them. His former wife (actually their divorce is still not final) and his children may actually not want a public apology. I feel certain they have already had numerous private ones. To Catholics and Christians alike who have been disappointed with his behavior…that I don’t have a comment about. I was not affected because I never looked at Gibson as anything other than a filmmaker. A person can make beautiful art that touches many and still be unbelievably lost. It doesn’t make the art or the message worthless. As far as enabling him by supporting him, I think you should act according to your conscience. Personally, mine tells me that Gibson is not learning anything by being ostracized, ridiculed and unforgiven. I think he would learn a lot more through the opposite actions. I could be wrong, but I’d rather err on the side of mercy. Not saying you are not being merciful; please don’t take it that way. But I’m sure you are aware that many are not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter in such a respectful way.

  • jmaterazzo

    If an “f” bomb is a requirement now for every Hollywood celebrity including a contrite sinner reqesting forgiveness for a fallen benefactor, he still has a long way to go to convince me of his “conversion” from his own frailties.

  • Tess

    This is a beautiful video. Thanks for the post.

  • Gerri Harkin

    I have always loved Roberty Downey Jr. in his worse day and I prayed for him. There was good in him that shined from within. I am so moved at what Mel told him and how he repaid the goodness. They are two of my favorite actors and human beings. I forgive mEL gIBSON AND WANT TO SEE MORE OF HIS MOVIES. God Bless them both.



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