The SAG Awards Are Being Called Out For Having Mark Wahlberg Present An Award To The Cast Of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” Despite The Fact He Once Went To Prison For Assaulting Two Vietnamese Men
Reflecting on the 45 days he spent in prison in 1988 for attacking two Vietnamese men, Wahlberg has previously said that he's owned up to his "mistakes."
The SAG Awards are facing backlash for the decision to have Mark Wahlberg present an award to the predominantly Asian cast of Everything Everywhere All at Once.
In case you’ve not caught up yet, last night’s SAG Awards were an incredible success for the cast and creators of Everything Everywhere All at Once, which broke records by becoming the biggest film winner in the ceremony’s 29-year history.
Some of the most notable wins were for the film’s lead stars, including Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curits, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan — making him the first Asian actor ever to win a SAG Award for an individual performance in a film.
As was expected, the movie also took home the award for an Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, which was presented on the night by Mark Wahlberg.
If you’re familiar with the actor, you might already know why viewers were a little confused to see that he, of all people, had been selected to present the award to a predominantly Asian cast.
For context, Wahlberg has a history of racially motivated attacks, including one instance when he pleaded guilty to felony assault after being charged for attacking two Vietnamese men in Boston.
On April 8, 1988, a man named Thanh Lam was left unconscious after Wahlberg — who was apparently high on the drug PCP at the time of the incident — approached him on the street and used a 5-foot-long stick to knock him down, calling him a “Vietnam fucking shit,” according to legal filings.
The same night, Wahlberg approached another Vietnamese man named Hoa Trinh and punched him in the face.
After he was placed under arrest, Wahlberg apparently used racial slurs to describe the two men, purportedly making “unsolicited racial statements about ‘gooks’ and ‘slant-eyed gooks.’”
He was charged with attempted murder, but ultimately pleaded guilty to assault, claiming that he was intoxicated at the time and that the attacks weren’t racially motivated.
However, due to a previous civil rights injunction prohibiting him from threatening, assaulting, or intimidating anyone over their race or national origin — which was put in place about after he was charged for harassing, verbally abusing, and throwing rocks at Black children two years prior — he was found to be in contempt of court and, as a result, was sentenced to two years in prison.
Wahlberg only wound up serving 45 days in jail, and in 2014, he applied to seek pardon for the April 1988 attack and have it wiped from his criminal record, saying he has dedicated himself “to becoming a better person and citizen” in the years since.
The appeal was dropped in 2016, and four years later, Wahlberg said in an interview with the Guardian that he has turned his “life around.”
“I took it upon myself to own up to my mistakes and go against the grain and not be a part of the gang any more — to say that I was going to go and do my own thing,” he told the outlet, later adding: “I would hope that people would be able to get a second chance in life.”
In spite of all this, viewers of the SAG Awards couldn’t help but feel it was a questionable decision to have Wahlberg present the award, with many fans expressing their confusion on Twitter.
“I gotta say, having Mark Wahlberg, who literally went to jail as a teen for committing a hate crime against a Vietnamese man, present an award to the cast of Everything Everywhere All At Once was certainly a choice,” one person tweeted.
“I feel like if Mark Wahlberg (or his management) wanted his checkered racist past to fade into obscurity, presenting the SAG award to EEEAAO would not have been on the list of gigs to take,” another wrote.
“Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Mark Wahlberg, the man who presented a SAG Award to the cast of Everything Everywhere All At Once, once go to jail for committing a hate crime against a Vietnamese man. An interesting choice, no?” someone else echoed.
One person described “irony” of the decision, while someone else said it was “extremely sinister.”
Elsewhere, another viewer said that having Wahlberg present the award was “arguably a worse awards show fuck up” than the La La Land/Moonlight Best Picture mix-up at the Oscars in 2017.
And if people weren’t already mad enough that he was there, it didn’t help that he also fumbled the name of one of the nominated films — mistakenly saying “Women Are Talking” instead of Women Talking.
Evidently unimpressed with the whole thing, one person tweeted: “not mark wahlberg of all people presenting an award to Everything Everywhere All At Once, a predominantly Asian cast, and saying ‘women are talking’ in the space of 30 seconds.”