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: