We all remember Sean Penn-gate, when the crusty 54-year-old actor-director made a tasteless joke to his close friend Alejandro González Iñárritu that just happened to be broadcast live across the world to tens of millions of Oscar viewers. Now, for those of you who may have missed out the first time, there’s yet another Iñárritu-related controversy brewing in the digital mediascape, this time involving comments by the crusty 50-year-old actor-producer, Robert Downey Jr.
Downey Jr. had already made waves this week when he walked out on British journalist Kirshnan Guru-Murthy during a press junket for his upcoming superhero flick, The Age of Ultron. That same day it seems another British journalist decided to go a bit off topic and ask for the actor’s thoughts on a quote from Iñárritu, in which the four-time Oscar-winning director suggests that superhero films are equivalent to “cultural genocide.”
In the viral clip, we see RDJ raise his eyebrows in pleasant surprise and regale Iñárritu with compliments that have nevertheless struck a nerve and spread like wildfire across the dry tinder of social media (no, I’m not talking about the app, folks.) “I respect the heck out him,” was the first thing out of Ironman’s mouth following a high-pitched chirp of approval. So far so good. Then things got complicated for the guy: “For a man whose native tongue is Spanish, to be able to put together a phrase like ‘cultural genocide’ just speaks to how bright he is.” Ay caray.
It’s not entirely clear if RDJ was intending to offend anybody. Maybe he was genuinely impressed that a man could formulate such a complex idea in a second language? But his condescending tone makes us think otherwise. Even if it was a back-handed compliment, it still stings just a little bit.
So, without further ado, here’s the clip heard round the world. If you want to feel offended today, you’ll definitely have something to work with. Otherwise, you can just watch for the morbid pleasure of seeing a man choke on his own foot.