Robert Downey Jr, Mel Gibson, and forgiveness

That was, again, more than three years ago, and despite Downey’s impassioned plea, Gibson is still persona non grata in Hollywood. But Downey hasn’t let up trying to revive a fellow addict’s career. He’s now saying the only way he’ll do another Iron Man movie is if Gibson is allowed to direct it. Of course, there’s always a chance Gibson really is a monster. But I choose to take Downey’s word that it’s time to forgive, because I’d rather live in a society where we err on the side of too much forgiveness than not enough.

Forgiveness means nothing if it is not freely given, to say nothing of when it is given at great cost. Downey’s putting his own reputation, which he’s already fought hard to reclaim, on the line here. (Or at the very least, he’s wagering whatever mind-boggling large payday that would accompany Iron Man 4.)

Now, contrast Downey’s own personal example here with Brody’s nativist accusation. Again, what would it have cost Brody to even consider whether he was being fair, to say nothing of leveling a reckless charge and declaring “there’s no defending Downey’s remark”? Precious little.