The upcoming movie Green Book, which explores an interracial friendship in the 1960s, is sure to bring about discussions on race in America. However, ahead of its November 16 release, one of its stars already seems to be starting on the wrong foot due to some comments he made at a Q&A.
Viggo Mortensen, who stars in Green Book along with Mahershala Ali, was apart of a Q&A following a screening of the movie by Film Independent Presents in Hollywood. According to The Hollywood Reporter, when Viggo was talking, he decided to use the N-word when discussing racial progress in America.
“For instance, no one says ni**er anymore,” Mortensen said, sitting right beside Mahershala and the movie’s director Peter Farrelly.
Dick Schulz, a Film Independent member and freelance director, was present when Viggo made the comment and his tweet about the situation went viral. Two other Twitter users who said they were present at the Q&A confirmed Viggo’s comments.
Schulz said all people could talk about after the Q&A was Vigo’s use of a racial slur. “I was hearing everybody passing by me going up the stairs going, ‘That was crazy! Why did he say that? You cannot say that!’ And it’s sad because the movie is great,” Schulz said.
He continued, “And the craziest thing was they had just talked about body language, so I felt like everyone was really attuned to body language, and everyone’s body language on the panel immediately tensed up.”
Vigo eventually released a statement to THR apologizing for his use of the N-word. “In making the point that many people casually used the ‘N’ word at the time in which the movie’s story takes place, in 1962, I used the full word,” Vigo said. “Although my intention was to speak strongly against racism, I have no right to even imagine the hurt that is caused by hearing that word in any context, especially from a white man. I do not use the word in private or in public. I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again.”