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Robert Downey Jr. Thanked Mel Gibson in SAG Speech. There Was Instant Backlash.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. is facing a social media backlash after thanking Mel Gibson in his SAG Awards speech.

While accepting the award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer, Downey took a moment to shout out a handful of stars who had impacted his career. Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Jodie Foster, and Annette Bening were among those named, along with Gibson.

Gibson has been criticized for a number of controversies, including racist rants and domestic violence, antisemitic remarks, and homophobia. The actor has been caught using the n-word a handful of times, once asked Winona Ryder if she was a Jewish “oven dodger,” and also said that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”

Social media users tuned in for the SAG Awards were upset to see Gibson mentioned in such high praise from Downey. “We’re really gonna thank/acknowledge Mel Gibson in an acceptance speech in the year 2024? Yikes,” one audience member shared.

“You know i feel like none of the other supporting actor nominees would have mentioned mel gibson idk,” shared another X user.

Downey has been candid about his support for Gibson even after the controversy. The Oppenheimer star has continued to express his gratitude after Gibson helped to cast Downey in his 2003 film The Singing Detective, resurrecting Downey’s career.

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

Downey went on to ask the audience to join him in “forgiving 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.”

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