Robert Downey Jr. has long since had a penchant for quick-witted comebacks, the charmingly garrulous actor always remaining as deferential as he is funny - but did his latest, perceivably offensive comment go one step too far?
RDJ landed himself in hot water earlier this week when he made fun of Alejandro G. Inarritu, Oscar-winning director and the mastermind behind last year's standout film Birdman, seemingly mocking his intelligence and, some say, his Spanish descent. But what prompted this uncharacteristic outburst from Downy Jr?
Well, in short, this inflammatory comment:
Inarritu: Superhero movies are "Cultural Genocide"
Inarritu has criticized the immensely popular genre for portraying the world through an overly simplistic, myopic lens, attempting to divide the 'good' and the 'bad' - the 'light' and the dark' - in a reality that is more accurately comprised of indistinct shades of 'gray.'
He even went as far as comparing modern superhero films to a form of "cultural genocide," chastising Hollywood's fixation with the money printing genre:
I sometimes enjoy them because they are basic and simple and go well with popcorn. The problem is that sometimes they purport to be profound, based on some Greek mythological kind of thing.
And they are honestly very right wing. I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be. I hate that, and don’t respond to those characters. They have been poison, this cultural genocide, because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn’t mean nothing about the experience of being human.
They're certainly strong words, and ones I'm sure many will have polemic opinions on, not least RDJ.
Recently, whilst promoting Age of Ultron, Iron Man himself was asked to comment on the Spanish director's remarks, to which he responded in a rather sarcastic, dismissive tone:
RDJ: "Look, I respect the heck out of him, and 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."
The actor's words have been described as 'ignorant' and 'disappointing' by some, criticized for patronizing the Spanish director because of his lineage.
Take a look for yourself and see if you think his words could be construed as 'racist':
What do you think - a harmless joke or offensive language?
The response to RDJ's comments on social media channels has been divided. Some who were clearly offended by RDJ's remarks...
...And others who sympathized with the American actor:
What's your take on it all?