Downey Jnr Needs to Learn to Play the Game

A rare swerve from cricket, and indeed sport altogether, for todays post. As someone who takes a keen interest in pretty much all the facets of the news, one particular story stood out for me this morning.

It seems that Channel 4 news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has caused the ire of yet another Hollywood A-lister. In 2013, the journalist had Quentin Tarantino sat opposite him, only to see him walk out after being pressed as to the role of excessive violence in many of his movies.

Now it is the star of The Avengers Robert Downey Jnr who has walked out on Guru-Murphy mid interview.

Downey Jr was being interviewed by Channel 4 News about his new movie, and trust me I am under no illusions that he will have been told by his representatives that he must spend the majority of his time selling his latest picture.

But this was part of a long day of press, the usual set up for film stars when selling a film abroad. Sit in a hotel room for a day, do about 100 interviews, everybody gets a 10 minute slot, and all the questions are basically the same for every outlet. It should have been glaringly obvious that Channel 4 News and Guru-Murphy, one of the most talented British broadcast journalists, would want to touch on issues outside of the latest film.

Downey Jnr’s troubles with drugs and alcohol, and his subsequent imprisonment are well documented, and he has answered numerous questions on the subject in the past. So when Guru-Murphy pressed him on how his relationship with his father was affected by his troubles, the question could not have come as a shock to Downey Jnr, or his people.

Indeed, Channel 4 have said that Guru-Murphy asked Downey Jnr if he would mind answering some personal questions, to which is said to have answered “you have as much time as anyone else has”. So why the reaction?

Downey Jr simply stood up and appeared incredulous as he asked Guru-Murphy what he thought he was doing. No request to move on, no ‘no comment’, or a simple silence. He felt it necessary to storm out of the interview as if Guru-Murphy had just asked him something completely unexpected.

The entire episode reeks of unprofessionalism from the Iron Man star, surely he will have been briefed by his team on how to handle unwanted questions. Besides, it’s not as if he is unacquainted with the media circus.

In return for a few personal questions, Downey Jr had the chance to promote his new film on one of the UK’s most respected news outlets. It’s a fair trade off.

Downey Jnr needs to learn how to play the game. There is a growing trend, particularly amongst some US stars, to disregard the media, and to treat them with disdain. It is worth remembering that without the media, they would be making these films, and nobody would be turning up to watch them or even have the faintest idea who Robert Downey Jnr is.

It’s simply a case of helping each other out. Many others stars have got the hang of it, knowing that will be asked some inevitable personal questions, but in return they get a huge audience with whom they can market their film at. Downey Jnr needs to respect the media or his reputation as someone who has risen from his personal troubles to reform himself will be in jeopardy.

I want to make it clear that I am not saying that Downey Jnr had to answer any question he felt uncomfortable doing so, simply that they way he handled the situation was childish and thoroughly unprofessional.

Here is the Channel 4 video of the incident

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