When Robert Downey Jr Finally Broke Silence On The Backlash Over Appearing Blackface In Tropic Thunder
When Robert Downey Jr Finally Broke Silence On The Backlash Over Appearing Blackface In Tropic Thunder, “90 Per Cent Of My Black Friends Were…” ( Photo Credit – Flickr ; Tropic Thunder Poster )

Robert Downey Jr is one of the biggest superstars in Hollywood. He is well known for playing Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, in MCU and Sherlock Holmes. The actor once sparked controversy when he appeared in blackface for most of “Tropic Thunder.” His decision sparked debate and court controversy for over a decade.

Interestingly, the actor reignited his career by launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ‘Iron Man’ in 2008, which just so happens to be the year he threatened to ruin his career by going blackface for “Tropic Thunder.”

Back in 2020, Robert Downey Jr appeared on an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, wherein he looked back at the casting of the controversial film. The American actor said, “My mother was horrified. Bobby, I’m telling ya, I have a bad feeling about this.’ I was like, ‘Yeah me too, mom.’ When Ben called and said, ‘Hey I’m doing this thing,’ – you know, I think Sean Penn had passed on it or something. Possibly wisely. And I thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that, and I’ll do that after Iron Man.’ Then I started thinking, ‘This is a terrible idea. Wait a minute.’ Then I thought, ‘Well, hold on, dude, get real here. Where is your heart? My heart is…I get to be black for a summer in my mind, so there’s something in it for me. The other thing is, I get to hold up to nature the insane self-involved hypocrisy of artists and what they think they’re allowed to do occasionally, just my opinion.”

“[Ben] knew exactly what the vision for this was, and he executed it, it was impossible not to have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie,” Downey Jr. continued. “And 90 per cent of my black friends were like, ‘Dude, that was great.’ I can’t disagree with [the other 10 per cent], but I know where my heart lies. I think that it’s never an excuse to do something that’s out of place and out of its time, but to me, it blasted the cap on [the issue]. I think having a moral psychology is job one. Sometimes, you just gotta go, ‘Yeah, I effed up.’ In my defense, ‘Tropic Thunder’ is about how wrong [blackface] is, so I take exception,” the Iron Man actor added.

Robert Downey Jr received critical acclaim for his performance in “Tropic Thunder” and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. However, he lost all the awards to the late actor Heath Ledger for “The Dark Knight.”

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