Robert Downey Jr. asks forgiveness for Mel Gibson

(JTA) — Robert Downey Jr. at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles urged the Hollywood community to forgive Mel Gibson for his recent troubles.

Downey paraphrased the New Testament when he said to the audience at the American Cinematheque Awards ceremony on Oct. 14, a week after Yom Kippur, that “unless you are without sin … you should forgive him and let him work.”

He added, “I urge you to forgive my friend his trespasses. Allow him to pursue this art without shame."

The two actors appeared together in the 1990 film “Air America.”

But the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier said that only Gibson can seek and receive forgiveness for his sins, which include anti-Semitic rants, racial tirades, and spousal abuse.

"The sins between man and his fellow man can only be forgiven if the person who committed the sin asks for forgiveness from those whom he shamed and insulted and caused harm to," Hier said Monday.

Hier said Gibson’s plans to make a movie about Judah Maccabee won’t help his cause.

"You can’t ask forgiveness indirectly through a movie," Hier said. "You can’t do it by saying, ‘Look at the part that I have. I’m producing a film about a Jew.’ "

In September, the Anti-Defamation League asked Warner Brothers to remove Gibson from the Judah Maccabee film.

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