For many Asian American viewers, a celebratory moment turned sour Sunday night when the final SAG Award was presented to the cast of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” by actor Mark Wahlberg.
As he handed off the prize for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture to the predominantly Asian ensemble, some were reminded of his 1988 assaults on two Vietnamese men.
Viewers called out Wahlberg on Twitter, saying it was inappropriate that he was chosen to present the award given the racist violence he perpetrated when he was 16.
“Friendly reminder that Mark Wahlberg violently attacked two Vietnamese men and I think it is quite obtuse that he was the one to announce Everything Everywhere All At Once as the winner of the SAG award tonight,” one person tweeted.
Representatives for Wahlberg and SAG-AFTRA did not respond to requests for comment.
Watch highlights from the 2023 Screen Actors Guild AwardsFeb. 27, 202302:38
Wahlberg has committed multiple racially motivated crimes in the past. In 1986, when he was 15, he and friends in Boston chased a group of Black children, calling them the N-word and throwing rocks at them. He was issued an injunction for violating their civil rights.
Two years later in 1988, he was arrested for attacking two Vietnamese men in separate incidents on the same day, beating one of them until he was unconscious and punching the other in the eye. During the attack, he used the racial slur “sl--t-eyed g---s,” according to police.
Wahlberg was arrested and charged with attempted murder; he was convicted on two counts of assault and battery and spent 45 days in prison. He was also convicted of contempt of court for violating the civil rights injunction from two years earlier.
In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, Wahlberg said he “did the work” to change after these incidents.
“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. Which made it 10 times more difficult to walk from my home to the train station, to go to school, to go to work,” he said.
But some fans of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” say the movie’s cast deserved better.
“Out of all people, why did they have MARK WAHLBERG,” another person tweeted. “You could’ve chosen anyone else.”