Golden Globe-winning screenwriter and producer of “The Green Book” Nick Vallelonga apologized Thursday for a 2015 tweet in which he claimed Muslim residents of Jersey City, N.J., celebrated the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I want to apologize,” Vallelonga told TheWrap 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.'”
Vallelonga’s tweet supported a claim by then-candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally that “thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
“100% correct,” Vallelonga wrote in the since-deleted tweet. “Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS new[s].”
The post resurfaced Wednesday, days after “Green Book” won three Golden Globes, including for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, vaulting it to the forefront of Oscar contention. Vallelonga took home a Best Screenplay Golden Globe along with co-writers Peter Farrelly and Brian Hayes Currie. Mahershala Ali, who is Muslim, also won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor as concert pianist Don Shirley.
“I especially deeply apologize to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused,” Vallelonga’s statement continued. “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.”
Vallelonga is the son of Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, who served as Shirley’s chauffeur on a series of concert tours in the largely segregated South. Tony Vallelonga is portrayed in “Green Book” by the actor Viggo Mortensen.
Farrelly, who also directed “Green Book,” apologized Wednesday after film website “The Cut” published excerpts from a 1998 Newsweek story that said Farrelly and his brother and frequent filmmaking partner Bobby Farrelly liked to trick people into looking at Peter Farrelly’s genitals.
“I was an idiot,” Farrelly said. “I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I’m deeply sorry.”
Those who told Newsweek they’d been tricked included film executive Tom Rothman and actress Cameron Diaz, who was starring in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy “There’s Something About Mary” at the time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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