Mahershala labeled use of the word, "hurtful."
Actor Viggo Mortensen is under fire a recent remark he made while promoting is his upcoming film Green Book. The film will depict an interracial friendship in the 60's with Mortensen and Mahershala playing the main roles. During a panel discussion about the film's themes and setting, Mortensen said "no one says n— anymore,” while making a point about the modern political climate, as compared to that of 50 years ago.
In a statement issued to The Hollywood Reporter, Mortensen said, "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."
Mortensen's co-star who was present at the panel told Variety that he has accepted the apology. “However well-intended or intellectual the conversation may have been, it wasn’t appropriate for Viggo to say the n-word,” Ali said in a statement to the publication. "He has made it clear to me that he’s aware of this, and apologized profusely immediately following the Q&A with Elvis Mitchell." Ali went on to share, "Knowing his intention was to express that removing the n-word from your vocabulary doesn’t necessarily disqualify a person as a racist or participating in actions or thoughts that are bigoted, I can accept and embrace his apology."
Read more of Ali's statement here.