Viggo Mortensen Apologizes For Using N-Word, During Interview: “I Will Never Utter It Again”

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Oscar-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen is apologizing for using the n-word while speaking at a post-screening discussion about his new movie Green Book, promising, “I will not utter it again.”Viggo_Mortensen_306231862_77144897_1024x576

During an Elvis Mitchell-moderated Q&A following a Film Independent Presents screening at the Arclight Hollywood on Wednesday of Peter Farrelly’s new film about an interracial friendship, Mortensen, seated beside costar Mahershala Ali and Farrelly, used the the n-word while speaking about racial progress in America.

In a statement overnight, in which he apologized for using the word, Mortensen acknowledged, “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. 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.”

 

Mortensen continued, “One of the reasons I accepted the challenge of working on Peter Farrelly’s movie Green Book was to expose ignorance and prejudice in the hope that our movie’s story might help in some way to change people’s views and feelings regarding racial issues. It is a beautiful, profound movie story that I am very proud to be a part of.”

In describing the audience’s reaction to Mortensen’s use of the word, Schulz said, “It was all anyone was talking about when we left the theater. 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.” He added, “The irony is confounding, to be honest — it’s really shocking, and it was really shocking in the moment.”

 

“I think that he immediately regretted it,” Schulz added. “He went on for I don’t know how long it was — it felt like an eternity after that, because everyone was waiting for the answer to end, but he was trying to steer the ship back to where he was trying to go.” According to Schulz, “A woman shouted back at him, ‘Don’t say that,’ immediately after he said it.”

Mortensen’s comment follows the high-profile firing of a Netflix executive for using the n word during a company meeting in the context of explaining why it should not be said. In June, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings terminated head of corporate communications Jonathan Friedland for “unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity.”

Mortensen, who has received two best actor Oscar nominations for his roles in Eastern Promises and Captain Fantastic, is known to be outspoken liberal activist who supported Jill Stein in the 2016 presidential election.

 

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  AP

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