At an American Cinematheque tribute to Robert Downey Jr. Friday, the "Iron Man" star praised his friend Mel Gibson - and said he should be forgiven.

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"Unless you are without sin -- and if you are, you are in the wrong f**king industry -- you should forgive him and let him work again," Downey said after Gibson presented him with the award before a packed ballroom.

As he was presenting, Gibson talked about being warned about hiring Downey for "Air America" in 1990 because of Downey's troubled private life. Downey has always credited Gibson for being the first person who gave him a job during some of his years battling substance abuse.

Now it was Downey Jr.'s turn to support Gibson. Downey spoke about that time, recalling that Gibson had told him to "help the next guy" once he was able to. "It's reasonable to assume...he didn't imagine the next guy would be him," said Downey.

Gibson's erratic behavior has made headlines in the last few years, including his DUI arrest and anti-Semitic rant and his abusive tirade against his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Jennifer Aniston, Jodie Foster, Jack Black, Jared Harris, directors Jon Favreau and Guy Ritchie, Jamie Foxx and Michael Douglas were among the night's other presenters.

Watch "Extra's" interviews at the event!

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