Does Mel Gibson deserve forgiveness? Don’t we all?
At the American Cinemateque awards ceremony in Hollywood last year, Robert Downey Jr. paid tribute to his friend Mel Gibson and, in an unusual (and surprising) move, asked for forgiveness on his behalf:
When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope, and he urged me to find my faith. It didn’t have to be his faith or anyone else’s, as long as it was rooted in forgiveness.
And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me as the lead in a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head, and he kept food on the table. And most importantly, he said if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoings and if I embraced that part of my soul that was ugly — “hugging the cactus,” he calls it — he said that if I “hugged the cactus” long enough, I’d become a man of some humility and that my life would take on a new meaning.
And I did, and it worked.
All he asked in return was that someday I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume that at the time he didn’t imagine that the next guy would be him or that someday was tonight.
So, anyway, on this special occasion … I humbly ask that you join me — unless you are completely without sin, in which case you picked the wrong fucking industry — in forgiving my friend his trespasses, offering him the same clean slate you have me, and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame.
He’s hugged the cactus long enough!
It’s a beautiful testimony and a powerful moment. I’m still deeply troubled by Gibson’s anti-Semitism, but everyone deserves forgiveness, right? What do you think? Two good men who’ve “hugged the cactus” and offered forgiveness and redemption to each other. Seems like a wonderful thing to me:
I’m African-American. I do not believe Mel Gibson is racist in the least. people say and do a lot of things they normally wouldn’t and don’t actually mean under the influence. Whoopi Goldberg is also a good friend of Mel’s. If he was racist, she would have been the very first to call him out on it as she is very outspoken where racism is concerned. I forgave him when it first happened and knew it was the alcoholism, not the real Mel saying those horrible things. Mel is a good person.
Everyone deserves forgiveness. The person you forgive doesn’t have to be your friend, and you are not obligated to agree with him, but forgiveness should be unconditional.
None of us deserves forgiveness, Steve. That’s one reason why it’s so powerful.
Opps my bad still moderating the first one… sorry didn’t know it would take that long Oh well I live with what ever…
So am I to understand that forgiveness only comes if one gives apologies first? I was under the belief that forgiveness is given whether the other person apologizes or not… It is for the benefit of those doing the forgiving… not those who are forgiven. As to Mel apologizing about being what JJ says well it isn’t our place to judge him either…Mel has to deal with that with his God! Is JJ not doing the same thing to Mel that Mel did to others. We are to love the sinner not the sin so their for whether there is… Read more »
I don’t know.
He has to admit his homophobia,racism and assh*lism first before he deserves any forgiveness.
I say that because people need to SEE HIM for who he is first. Otherwise,we’re just giving him a pass.
Admit his crimes first.
Wow. Great piece, Steve!
Thanks, Jeff! Let me know if you’d ever be interested in writing something for “In Good Faith.”
Steve, I really agree with Downey here, and I adore him (I’ve met him a few times). He’s a great guy. And I do believe that he deserves forgiveness, but I’d love to see an open-hearted quest for it from Gibson himself. Has he done that yet? I presume he has with his family, but if he wants forgiveness from the public, he’ll need to do it publicly. Maybe he has. I’m not up on the gossip. But I think Downey’s sentiments are absolutely true about forgiveness in general. And I like “Hugging the Cactus”… Pretty great phrase. Thanks for… Read more »
Thanks, Joanna! And great question re: Gibson asking publicly for forgiveness. I don’t know that he has.
I don’t believe that he has to.
Just saw a movie called “Devil” …. I’d suggest watching it in that it has a great mssg about forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t about validating or agreeing with one’s behavior. Forgiveness is about accepting that others are human, and fallible. We are all doing the best we can in this life, with what we are equipped with.