“Green Book” writer Nick Vallelonga supports U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that some people in the country were seen celebrating on 9/11.
The writer, whose father Tony Vallelonga was played by Viggo Mortensen in the film, has been the centre of attention, thanks to the awards buzz surrounding “Green Book”. The film took home an evening-high three awards at Sunday’s Golden Globes.
Now, that attention has led to controversy. In Nov. 2015, Vallelonga corroborated Trump’s claims, noting that Muslims, in particular, celebrated as the World Trade Center came crashing down on Sept. 11, 2001.
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,” Trump wrote, per the Washington Post. “And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
“100% correct,” the writer said in a now-deleted tweet captured by Buzzfeed. “Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.” He has since deleted his Twitter entirely.
Diversity in Hollywood has been a hot topic around awards season over the past several years. At a time of heightened awareness, it remains to be seen how Vallelonga’s remarks may affect his film’s performance at the Oscars.
Following the backlash, on Thursday Vallelonga issued an apology for “the hurt I have caused,” promising to “do better.”
“I want to apologize,” said the screenwriter in a statement. “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 apologize 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.”