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Robert Downey Jr. is finally opening up about what he was thinking when he walked out of an interview with U.K. reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy last week.
The video of the Avengers star’s awkward exchange with the Channel 4 journalist, ending with Downey leaving and saying things were getting “too Diane Sawyer,” quickly went viral. Guru-Murthy later defended his right to talk to stars about “serious topics.”
Opening up about his decision to walk out, Downey told Howard Stern on Tuesday, “I just wish I’d left sooner” and explained why that’s likely what he’ll do if he finds himself in a similar situation in the future.
Unlike Quentin Tarantino, who had a similar dustup with Guru-Murthy in 2013, but stayed and berated him, Downey was surprised by and felt uncomfortable with the Channel 4 reporter’s line of questioning.
“I’m one of those guys where I’m always kind of assuming the social decorum is in play and that we’re promoting a superhero movie, a lot of kids are going to see it,” he said on Stern’s SiriusXM show. “This has nothing to do with your creepy, dark agenda that I’m feeling like all of a sudden ashamed and obligated to accommodate your weirdo shit.”
He added, “I’m a 50-year-old guy … and I’m completely unevolved when it comes to simple boundaries. [I thought,] ‘You know what? You’re weirding me out. You’re a bottom-feeding muckraker.'”
He also doesn’t think he should have to endure such probing questions when he’s promoting a movie, and going forward, he says, he’ll probably extricate himself from a similar situation before it leads to a physical altercation.
“The assumption is that there’s a button that because you’ve sat down there, you’re going to be scrutinized like a kiddie fiddler who’s running for mayor,” the actor said. “What I have to do in the future is I just have to give myself permission to say, ‘That is more than likely a syphilitic parasite, and I need to distance myself from this clown. Otherwise, I’m probably going to put hands on somebody, and then there’s a real story.'”
Listen to part of Downey’s interview with Stern below.
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Sterling K. Brown