- “Green Book” co-writer Nick Vallelonga apologised on Thursday for an anti-Muslim tweet from 2015.
- “I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with ‘Green Book,'” he said in a statement.
- In the tweet, Vallelonga had responded to a claim by Donald Trump that thousands of people in New Jersey cheered after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.
- “Muslims in New Jersey cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news,” Vallelonga tweeted.
“Green Book” is an awards favourite, but it can’t escape controversy.
Nick Vallelonga – a co-screenwriter and son of one of the movie’s subjects, Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga – apologised on Thursday for a 2015 anti-Muslim tweet that recently resurfaced.
His full statement is below, via Deadline:
“I want to apologise. I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with ‘Green Book.’ I especially deeply apologise to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused. I am also sorry to my late father who changed so much from Dr. Shirley’s friendship and I promise this lesson is not lost on me. ‘Green Book’ is a story about love, acceptance and overcoming barriers, and I will do better.”
Vallelonga deleted his Twitter account on Wednesday after facing backlash for the tweet, in which he responded to Donald Trump’s claim that “thousands” of people in Jersey City, New Jersey cheered after the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.
Vallelonga tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump 100% correct. Muslims in New Jersey cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”
The claim was debunked in 2015 by multiple news outlets, including The Washington Post, which wrote, “an extensive examination of news clips from that period turns up nothing,” and “neither can we find any examples of Trump previously talking about this.”
Participant Media, which co-produced “Green Book,” condemned the tweet in a statement this week.
“We find Mr. Vallelonga’s Twitter post offensive, dangerous, and antithetical to Participant Media’s values,” the statement said. “We reject it in no uncertain terms.”
“Green Book” follows “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), an Italian-American bouncer for night clubs in New York City, who takes a job as a driver for African-American musician Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) for a tour through the Deep South in the 1960s. The two real-life individuals both died in 2013.
“Green Book” won three Golden Globes on Sunday, including best comedy or musical, best supporting actor (Ali), and best screenplay. But besides Vallelonga’s tweet, it has faced criticism from Shirley’s family for misrepresenting him.
Director Peter Farrelly also apologised this week after The Cut resurfaced 1998 reports that Farrelly exposed himself in front of colleagues.
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