Green Book is struggling to recover its Oscar momentum after both its director and writer were hit with controversies days after their win at the Golden Globes.
Nick Vallelonga, the film’s co-screenwriter and son of the character Viggo Mortensen plays, has issued an apology for a 2015 tweet that resurfaced Wednesday. After Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate, falsely claimed he saw “thousands” of Muslims cheering on 9/11, Vallelonga tweeted in support, writing, “100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local news.”
Vallelonga says he is “incredibly sorry to everyone associated with Green Book,” particularly the “brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused” with this tweet, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Green Book tells the story of a racist, Vallelonga’s father, forming a friendship with a black man, Don Shirley, so Vallelonga also apologizes to “my late father who changed so much from Dr. Shirley’s friendship and I promise this lesson is not lost on me.” He concludes by promising to “do better.”
This wasn’t the only public relations disaster Green Book faced this week, as a news story from 1998 also resurfaced in The Cut about how director Peter Farrelly used to flash his genitals on set as a prank. He apologized for behavior he said he thought was “funny” but now makes him “cringe.” Green Book was previously embroiled in controversies when Mortensen used the N-word at an event promoting the movie, which he subsequently apologized for, and when Shirley’s family objected to the story’s accuracy.
Green Book has been vying for an Oscar, and Vallelonga’s tweet just happened to resurface during the week in which members of the Academy vote on nominations. Those nominations will be announced on Jan. 22. Brendan Morrow