Robert Downey Jr’s publicist: The Alejandro Inarritu shade ‘is complimentary’


At this point, I’m actually starting to worry that there’s something wrong with Robert Downey Jr. I’ve been covering him for years, and while there’s always been a cockiness, he’s been able to “keep it real” too. RDJ has always been mercurial and moody, of course. But “mercurial” doesn’t explain the epic clusterf—k of offensive words and behavior coming out RDJ during this tour. Yesterday, we discussed RDJ’s terrible Howard Stern interview, where he finally commented in-depth about walking out on the interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. The words RDJ used were… inappropriate.

But Stern didn’t ask RDJ about his comments last week regarding Alejandro Inarritu – go here to recap the whole story. The basic gist: a Guardian journalist fed RDJ some months-old quotes that Inarritu made about superhero films in general and how they are a “cultural genocide.” RDJ’s response? “I respect the hell out of him. I think 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.” Which many took as racism-tinged shade. As I have said a few times in the days following that incident, RDJ still hasn’t said one word about it. No apologies, no explanations. Until now. When he got his publicist to cover his ass.

Robert Downey Jr. intended to be complimentary with a statement about Mexican-born director Alejandro Inarritu that some have interpreted as racist, the actor’s publicist said Wednesday.

“Taken in the proper context of the interview, it is intended to be, and is, complimentary,” said Downey Jr.’s publicist Alan Nierob.

A representative for Inarritu did not immediately respond to request for comment.

[From Page Six]

We actually saw RDJ’s response in context, because pretty much every site embedded the video (as I did again below). You can see RDJ say that he “respects the hell” out of Inarritu, just before he basically says that most Spanish-speakers are morons and Inarritu is the rare one who can put together a phrase like “cultural genocide.” I’ve already ranted about this last week, so don’t get me started again. It’s so patronizing and white-privilege-y to say anything along the lines of “wow, your English is great!” UGGGGHHHH.

What interests me is that RDJ’s publicist had to come out here and say something. And it’s not even an apology, it’s just a half-assed, no-one-will-believe-it-but-we-have-to-say-something clarification. What’s wrong, RDJ? Did someone get pissy and refuse to actually say the words “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that”?

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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62 Responses to “Robert Downey Jr’s publicist: The Alejandro Inarritu shade ‘is complimentary’”

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  1. taterho says:

    I’ve tried to give RDJ the benefit of the doubt over the last week. Now I don’t know why I did that. He allowed his publicist to release this message.

    *flicks RDJ from her good guy list like a booger off a finger*

  2. Pri says:

    Errggh, I am not a comic book movie fan. But why is it that all of these statements made during the tour seem to be getting a pass, with Evan’s and Renner’s “whore” (and Renner’s non-apology), the gypsy chant from Renner and Ruffalo, and all of the RDJ mess.

    What I mean is that either there is no apology, or an insincere one.

    • tracking says:

      Excellent question. I can’t stand any of these guys now.

    • jen2 says:

      This movie is review proof and controversy proof. Don’t even know why they did so much promotion. It is going to make billions, no matter what any of the “bros” say and they seem to know it.

      Like minded Bros like Stern gave RDJ a platform to blast that other journalist without making him take any responsibility and the other stuff will soon be forgotten when it breaks records. The arrogance is just a part of the junket now. They are pretty much full of themselves and know that no matter who they insult, the “bros” will be forgiven since it is such a money making monster. Sad really, but it is just reality these days and it sucks.

    • RocketMerry says:

      Kinda makes you wonder what type of lovely conversations must have been had by the cast members and director while filming.

      Side note, to all Marvel fans who will be watching Avengers and can fill me in on this: will Phill Coulson be in this movie? I’m currently super into Agents of Shield, and I might consider watching the movie despite the raging tour racism just to finally get the refetences in the tv series.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Whedon said that Coulson is still dead as far as the Avengers know. Fury and Maria Hill haven’t shared the news and Coulson himself asked Sif not to tell Thor. I would love to see Agent May in the films.

      • Anna says:

        Sadly, Coulson definitely won’t be in Ultron. Joss has been pretty clear that he doesn’t feel the need to bring Coulson back into the films, because it would “lessen” the impact of his death in the first Avengers.

        However, the next two Avengers movies will have different directors. so they may be willing to bring Coulson back into the films.

  3. meme says:

    No it wasn’t. If it was, RDJ would have said so himself I think. He’s such an arrogant a-hole.

  4. laughing girl says:

    Not wanting to excuse his behaviour – but has anyone considered the possibility that he’s fallen off the wagon? Also, getting very tired of those non-apology apologies: either do it right or STFU. You’re a wank stain. We get it.

    • meme says:

      Me too. Bunch of cowards who won’t stand by what they really think.

    • Eleonor says:


    • Beckysuz says:

      I have wondered that as well the past week. I really hope not considering how hard he’s had to fight for his sobriety. That would be a shame

    • Ana Maria says:

      hate to say it, but this got me thinking…his comments this press tour, specially the Inarritu one, are the sort of things one feels brave enough to say aloud with a little chemical help…My God, I so hope this is not the case, but something is super wrong, because in what context of what Universe is that comment complimentary?…

      • Nina says:

        Maybe this is why he was so upset at the other interviewed questions about his drug past. Because he’s fallen off the wagon?

    • Nina says:

      Think he’s heading for a crash. Sounds like he’s gotten too high on himself or something.

  5. sofia says:

    This just reinforces how stupid his comment was. It doesn’t make it better. Maybe she should hire a new PR team.

  6. Kiddo says:

    I kind of thought it a compliment either way, but I only read the text.

  7. Grace says:

    I’ve never been a fan of his. His misstep isn’t surprising. The only surprising thing is that for once I understood what the heck he was saying – usually he speaks gibberish in an attempt to sound like an intellectual.

  8. aquarius64 says:

    Someone’s in damage control mode. And RDJ realized he made things worse with the verbal diarrhea on Howard Stern.

  9. Lori says:

    Should we be surprised that this is the type of comment of someone who pals around with Mel Gibson? Who defends buddy’s right to work and be re-accepted back into Hollywood’s arms?

    • laughing girl says:

      ^ Excellent point.

    • Kiddo says:

      That association could be perceived in a variety of ways. He may be forgiving of Gibson because he fell down, himself.

    • Lore says:

      RDJ has stated that he stands by Mel because when he hit rock bottom Mel was the only one willing to give him a second chance. He was uninsurable because of his past transgressions so no one would hire him. Mel paid RDJs insurance out of his own pocket so he could work again. Regardless of the shenanigans going on now, or my personal opinion of Mel, I won’t fault RDJ for staying loyal to the one person that helped him when he needed it the most.

  10. Shambles says:

    Even from his publicist, I’m getting that flippant arrogance that I pick up on from RDJ himself. Really irritating. What gets me is the fact that they could have left it at “it is intended to be complimentary.” But they just had to add “it is intended to be, AND IS, complimentary.” So very “we are right and you are wrong, obviously, so shut up.” Ugh.

  11. Mia4S says:

    Stop! Stop talking! We will all go see the stupid movie! (Even though it’s apparently not nearly as good or fun as the first one). Just stop talking unless someone else wrote your dialogue.

  12. Jules says:

    Downey, Jr., is an asshole. A spoiled, petulant, arrogant asshole who said a lot of stupid things and isn’t even remotely sorry.

    The man is pouting because he got called out and his narcissistic self can’t take the criticism.

  13. mia girl says:

    I heard him a couple of days ago on EW radio interview and aside from doing a pretty good James Spader impression, RDJ sounded like he thinks whatever comes out of his mouth is brilliant. Like maybe he has had too many people around him for too long who laugh too hard at his jokes and give him too much credit for his pseudo-intellectualism.

    He could be charming and clever once, but it that now seems mired in the fact that he thinks his sh*t don’t stink.

    • sofia says:

      “Like maybe he has had too many people around him for too long who laugh too hard at his jokes and give him too much credit for his pseudo-intellectualism.”

      This is quite common with big celebs, isn’t it? Like no one really tells them they are being idiots so they live their lives with huge egos thinking they are just brilliant.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      BUT!!!! He used the word ‘alacrity’ in a sentence on Howard, y’all! Isn’t that amaze-balls? The reason this press tour has been so disastrous has got to be cuz this is a silly movie and there’s no conversation to be had about it, so they’ve all had to resort to this lovely display of verbal diarrhea.

  14. OSTONE says:

    If I thought I had it rough this month with work and school, I feel for the marvel handlers’, PR and marketing people. So much idiocy came from this press tour. At this point, why promote the film? Is going to make millions anyway.
    And @Kaiser, it’s Alejandro González Iñárritu, González is his paternal last name, and in the Spanish speaking world, comes first. Look at me, Spanish speaking person who can elaborate coherent sentences! Thank you, RDJ for your validation! 😒💩

  15. FingerBinger says:

    RDJ shouldn’t have issued a statement. It doesn’t matter. People are going to see this film. Full stop.

  16. Mona says:

    I’m a white immigrant that got treatment like that from English native speakers in the past hence my problem with the statement: his comments are white-priviledge-y. RDJ is a priviledged and patronizing jerk but it has nothing to do with the colour of his skin.

  17. Kara says:

    saying its complimentary makes it actually more offending.

    maybe he should give candy to spanish speaking people and rub their heads when they pronounce english words right. “i am just complimenting them!”

    • Saks says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking… Also I’m sure he wouldn’t have said that if Alejandro was from another nationality, and that is sad and racist

    • Sam says:

      I think RDJ was being sarcastic, and his publicist is trying to avoid “RDJ hates Alejandro Inarritu” headlines.

  18. laughing girl says:

    Robert, here the hole. Keep on digging, love, keep on digging.

  19. tx_ava says:

    not trying to justify his statements or anything lol, but I just remembered all that stuff that happened with his son. wasn’t he having drug issues and going into rehab not that long ago? & I think his wife just had a baby recently too maybe that’s why he’s been so annoyingly pissy lately

  20. Cee says:

    As a native spanish speaker, his comment and further statements anger me.

    I suppose next time an English speaker living/working/studying in my country attempts to speak spanish or even pronounce strong Rs (such as ‘perro’) I will congratulate them on their exorbitant mental prowess with a condescending pat on the head.

  21. anon33 says:

    Also, anyone who uses the phrase “put hands on him/her/them” is a ragey loser douche….I know bc I dated one.

  22. mw2349 says:

    RDJ’s comment was stupid and thoughtless and condescending, yes. But Inarritu calling superhero films “cultural genocide” was none too nice either, basically saying that RDJ’s most recent work is worthless at best and somehow evil at worst (genocide is a very charged word). I don’t give RDJ a pass, but I can understand him either being annoyed or not knowing how to respond to that.

    • Gabby says:

      Right? Is the same stupid type of comment Kanye West makes when comparing the Civil Rights movement to Fame and Celebrity,

    • Sam says:

      I think RDJ wanted to object to the “cultural genocide” remark but also didn’t want to start a public feud with Alejandro Inarritu. So he ended up saying something that on the surface is a compliment but was meant to be sarcasm. But whatever RDJ was trying to say came off as a confusing mess.

    • icerose says:

      then respond with a well thought out argument not racist comments.And if he needs help we can refer him to Tom’s articles in the Guardian justifying super heroes.

  23. Gabby says:

    Ok, to be honest, he’s basically said what EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN I have ever met said to me, once they realized English wasn’t my first language. Is it bigoted, patronizing, ignorant and one of the reasons why people consider Americans to be arrogant and oblivious to other cultures? YES!!!!!!!!! But let’s not pretend he is the only one that does it. Most people don’t even realize how offensive that is, and they actually mean it as a compliment.

    P.s: I’m NOT defending him, he still should have apologized in a much better and decent manner,

  24. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    I have ALWAYS thought RDJ is a dick. Glad he’s showing his true colors.

  25. Sam H x says:

    As if anyone will believe that non-apology? Lol. RDJ has shown a real unpleasant side to his persona recently, not forgetting Renner the a*shole (what’s worst he has a daughter!) & Evans the idiot. I saw the video, the context was sarcastic but it was a backhanded ignorant and condescending remark. Heard Mark made some unsavoury remarks on Graham Norton. What a f**king catastrophe of a press tour! Should have just sent James Spader & I would have been sold. I’ll watch it for the Spader anyway.

  26. Brasileira says:

    Alright… “it was intended to be complimentary”, but it was still awfully racist.

    I hope the English spoken/written by this Portuguese speaking Brazilian here doesn’t piss RDJ too.