Robert Downey Jr. Visits BET, Not Lynched
For his Tropic Thunder portrayal of an Oscar-winning Australian actor (Kirk Lazarus) who takes on the role of a black soldier (Lincoln Osirus), Robert Downey Jr. adopted a deep baritone and wore extensive hair and make-up. He ended up looking like Sammy Davis Jr., if Sammy wasn't Jewish.
The thrust of the joke, as explained by Downey Jr., is "the idea of actors making wrong-headed moves to try to be taken seriously."
It doesn't seem as if his gag has done much harm to race relations. The Iron Man actor received a warm welcome when he visited BET and gave autographs to fans.