Davos WEF
Davos WEF

'What a difference a day can make': Robert Downey Jr. on why he likes Biden

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Key Points
  • Addressing the change in leadership in the U.S., with Democrat Biden taking over as president from Republican Donald Trump last week, Downey Jr. said: "You know, it's funny, what a difference a day can make." 
  • Downey Jr., who is known for playing "Iron Man" in Disney's Marvel movie franchise, also founded the Footprint Coalition.
  • It invests in sustainability-focused companies and makes charitable grants to non-profits advancing the adoption of environmental technology.
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Robert Downey Jr. on why he likes Biden

Actor, producer and investor Robert Downey Jr. commended President Joe Biden for instilling a message of respect in his new administration upon entering the White House last week. 

Downey Jr., who is known for playing "Iron Man" in Disney's Marvel movie franchise, was speaking to CNBC's Tania Bryer on a panel at the World Economic Forum's virtual Davos Agenda event about his initiative, The Footprint Coalition. 

Addressing the change in leadership in the U.S., with Democrat Biden taking over as president from Republican Donald Trump last week, Downey Jr. said: "You know, it's funny, what a difference a day can make." 

"We've been prone in the West over here to be very personality-based and now we're going back to principle, and that takes a lot of discipline," Downey Jr. said.

"I was very pleased to see our commander-in-chief say to his entire cabinet: 'You are all to treat each other with respect from day one, or I'm gonna have a problem with you,'" he added. 

Biden warned staff last week that he would fire them "on the spot" if anyone was found to be disrespectful to another colleague. He urged his administration to treat people with decency and respect in a way that he believed had been missing over the last four years. 

Downey Jr. said this message of respect showed "good den mothering" and "common sense." 

"I think we tend to fall out of step with principle behavior and then the cavalcade of character defects start rearing their ugly heads," he said. 

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Robert Downey Jr.'s new venture was inspired by the MCU

The Footprint Coalition

Downey Jr. told CNBC that he wanted to do something "meaningful" on leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe after having played "Iron Man" for well over a decade.

The actor first announced his plans to launch the Footprint Coalition in 2019. The project is described as a "coalition of investors, donors, and storytellers committed to scaling technologies to restore our planet," according to the website.

It invests in sustainability-focused companies and makes charitable grants to non-profits advancing the adoption of environmental technology.

Downey Jr. drew parallels between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the aims of the Footprint Coalition, saying: "We were able to kind of mobilize the fan base to get interested and feel like they were (an) additive to the storytelling we were doing."

Downey Jr. also talked about how the Footprint Coalition hoped to democratize investment in the sustainability space.

He explained that in talking to scientists, entrepreneurs and companies, "we realized that part of what we do is we generate content that builds a community and grows an audience and then we can leverage that into getting eyes on deal flows that normally would be very exclusive."

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