‘Nashville’ Star Hayden Panettiere: Hollywood Is Ready to Forgive Mel Gibson (EXCLUSIVE)

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Was Mel Gibson’s low-key appearance at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards a sign that America may be ready forgive him?

It’s possible, says Nashville star Hayden Panettiere.

“I think forgiving is the best quality because America loves comebacks and they love flaws and for people to admit their mistakes and to grow from them,” Panettiere told Celebuzz while discussing Jodie Foster’s emotional Cecil B. DeMille speech. “We all do. They can be big, they can be small.”

“The unfortunate thing about being in the public eye is you get much less breaks because everything is so magnified,” she added.

“It’s not like we make any mistakes that other people don’t. It’s just that they’re so public and so explosive and so judgmental too to everything that somebodies created in their career. But I think forgiveness is one of the best qualities that America has.”

Gibson — who sat at Foster’s table at the event and was personally thanked by her in her speech — suffered a career nose dive in 2006 when he was arrested for a DUI and accused of making anti-Semitic marks at the time of his arrest.

A few years later, in 2010 phone calls were leaked to the Internet in which Gibson was heard yelling a number of offensive remarks at his then-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.

But based on the look on his face during Foster’s speech, it seemed like he was ready to be forgiven.

Panettiere agreed.

“The worst punishment is having to live with what you’re done; to live with it yourself,” Panettiere — who was nominated Sunday night for Nashville – said.

“We have that saying — ‘You lay in the bed you made’ — and that’s the worst punishment. To continually punish, it’s just unnecessary and I think you can see in people when they’re ready to be forgiven and they know and understand what they’ve done.

“People do silly things and people do rash thing that they don’t mean.

“We all say things that we don’t mean and crazy things. It happens to all of us and it doesn’t mean that one person is better than another.”

Panettiere said “forgiveness is always the best route.”

“You always give somebody a second chance. If they go beyond that that’s something you, that’s your choice. A second chance is a great thing. Forgiveness and understand and benefit of the doubt. Benefit of the doubt is something that I don’t feel like people give as freely and they should.”

Nashville airs Wednesday nights on ABC. For more on Celebuzz’s Golden Globes coverage, click here.

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