Viggo Mortensen is a white guy, and I think most of can agree that we live in a world where white people shouldn’t ever use the n-word in real life. But Viggo must not have realized this when he opened his mouth during a recent discussion after a Film Independent screening of his new film, Green Book. And now he’s really sorry.
Green Book stars Mahershala Ali as a 1960s musician who does a tour of the American South with his driver, played by Viggo. The title is based off The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guide book to help travelers avoid dangerous areas. During the Q&A portion of the discussion on Wednesday night, The Hollywood Reporter says that the panel was asked about racial progress in America. Viggo responded that “no one says” the n-word anymore. Except he didn’t say “n-word,” he said the actual word.
Was there too. He kept going off on tangents that were not clearly thought out. Really a disservice to the film.
— Nicola Jones (@MzJones) November 9, 2018
Dick W. Schulz, a Film Independent member, spoke to THR and gave the situation a little more context. He claimed that the question was asked to another panelist, but Viggo chose to answer anyway. Viggo also reportedly started out by saying: “And I don’t like saying the word, but, for instance, people don’t say…“. Viggo realized that when he did wasn’t very cool, and he issued the following statement to THR:
“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.
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.”
Even if it were a do-or-die situation when it comes to saying the n-word in real life, Viggo should still be like: “Okay well, in that case, please tell my family I love them, and maybe also to delete my browser history. But no, there’s nothing else I’d like to say.”