Fans of Mark Wahlberg have stepped in to defend the star after he was reminded of his past hate crimes and labelled a ‘racist’ upon paying tribute to George Floyd this week.
The rapper-turned-actor served 45 days in prison in 1988 after attacking two Vietnamese men, while also being issued a civil rights citation two years earlier in 1986 when he was among a group of white teenagers who hurled rocks and shouted ‘kill the n****s’ at a group of mostly black students.
Ultimately, in 2016, Wahlberg dropped a request to be pardoned over the 1988 incident, after the star, then 16, was slapped with a two-year prison sentence after he attacked two Vietnamese men – Johnny Trinh, and Thanh Lam – while trying to steal beer near his home in Dorchester, Boston.
Speaking to Associated Press in 2014 of the crimes, he said: ‘I have apologised, many times.
‘The first opportunity I had to apologise was right there in court when all the dust had settled and I was getting shackled and taken away, and making sure I paid my debt to society and continue to try and do things that make up for the mistakes that I’ve made.’
While he’s previously apologised some people didn’t want to let go of his past this week as they slammed the star on social media.
Wahlberg had previously shared an image of Floyd – a 46-year-old father who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes, his death sparking protests around the world – saying he was ‘praying for us all’.
He wrote: ‘The murder of George Floyd is heartbreaking. We must all work together to fix this problem. I’m praying for all of us. God bless.’
Comic book artist Adam Ellis added to the mix: ‘Mark Wahlberg hurled rocks at black children while screaming “Kill the n*s!” He beat a Vietnamese man unconscious and was charged for attempted murder. He’s committed at least 5 hate crimes. He only apologised while seeking a pardon 26 years later.’
Another added of white privilege: ‘If you still don’t know what white privilege is, Mark Wahlberg committed hate crimes, has a Wikipedia section dedicated to it, and we never ever talk about it.’
And a Twitter user simply raged: ‘Now that I’ve learnt Mark Wahlberg is a disgusting racist, I won’t be spending my money on his movies! He has a Hate Crime section on his Wikipedia!!’
However, many others were in his corner, as they implored others to recognise the growth Wahlberg has had over the years.
‘In 1986. You’re tryna cancel him for something from 34 years ago,’ one user wrote online. ‘He’s since made HUGE strides to try to right his wrongs. In 1991 he even made a song talking about racism (look up “Wildside” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch). This is f**ked up but people are allowed to grow (sic).’
One fan added, as they backed the star: ‘So whats the issue with #markwahlberg? Seems people are more concerned with something he done as a young man and not the fact he now stands with #BLM …Hypocrisy at its finest, you cant win! (sic).’
Another added of Wahlberg – who is yet to address the social media palaver: ‘Does modern society offer any pathways to societal #redemption anymore? If people cannot have racism in their past, overcome it and then speak out in support of said race, what is the point of educating and building empathy? Will changed people always be persecuted?’
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