After Mark Wahlberg threw his support behind the Black Lives Matter movement this week, many Twitter users reminded him and those praising his recent words of hate crimes he committed years ago. In the 1980s, Wahlberg was caught in at least three instances of racist harassment and even assault. Many felt that those incidents stripped his support of the Black Lives Matter movement of any authenticity, just as those incidents have complicated his legacy for years.
Wahlberg posted a photo of George Floyd on Twitter on Thursday, calling his killing in police custody "murder." He wrote that Floyd's death "is heartbreaking," adding: "We must all work together to fix this problem. I'm praying for all of us. God bless." He even included the hashtag "Black Lives Matter," but activists were quick to remind each other of Wahlberg's violent history. Some wanted the actor to atone for his past more fully before accepting his support for this movement.
Wahlberg has been charged with hate crimes on three separate occasions in his past, beginning in 1986 when he was a teenager. At the time, Wahlberg and three friends chased after three African American children on a Massachusetts beach, shouting racial epithets and threats to "kill" them along the way. The three even threw rocks at the children according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun, and "summoned other white males who joined" in the harassment.
Later that summer, a civil action was filed against Wahlberg for violating the civil rights of those children. The case was settled the next month, but the victims were candid about the fact that they did not forgive Wahlberg. In 2014, Wahlberg appealed for a pardon for his hate crime convictions, including this one. One of the African American victims told The Guardian that he should not be pardoned, adding: "a racist will always be a racist."
The other two hate crimes came on the same day in 1988, beginning when Wahlberg attacked a middle-aged Vietnamese American man in Dorchester, Massachusetts — a Boston suburb. Again he screamed racial epithets at the man while knocking him unconscious with a large wooden stick. Later in the day, he attacked another Vietnamese American man before he was finally arrested. The police report indicates that Wahlberg spent his time in custody spewing unprovoked racial slurs. He was sentenced to two years in jail on this occasion but served only 45 days.
One of those men said that he forgave Wahlberg in a 2019 interview with The Daily Mail, but many other people feel Wahlberg has not done enough to acknowledge the racism of his crimes and atone for them. In 2018, prosecutor Judith Beals said that "Wahlberg has never acknowledged the racial nature of his crimes." She thought that seeking a pardon was not the right path, as it "would highlight all too clearly that if you are white and a movie star, a different standard applies. Is that really what Wahlberg wants?"
Wahlberg told The L.A. Times that he regretted his pardon request, which he allowed to lapse in the court system. Over the years, Wahlberg has pursued philanthropy in various forms, but never with an eye towards racial justice. Many people think he owes minorities a more explicit apology before his Black Lives Matter post can be taken seriously. Here is what they had to say this weekend.
Do Vietnamese lives matter, Mark?— Birdie Sanders 🌹 (@2020Justice4All) June 5, 2020
I was wondering if u were going to respond to blm you know considering your past ..i forgive but others not so much— FaithLoveHope (@reachout13) June 4, 2020
Mark wahlberg got a whole section on his wikipedia called "HATE CRIMES"— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) June 7, 2020
Mark Wahlberg really has an entire “hate crimes” section on his Wikipedia pic.twitter.com/jAJWJnsVgC— B. W. Carlin (@BaileyCarlin) June 7, 2020
That was wahlberg’s version of the Kobe 81 point game. He was in the zone— kyle/Free agent nba fan (@knicks_tape99) June 7, 2020
bitch theres a difference between saying the n word thirty years ago and beating the shit out of someone to the brink of death just for being a difference race than you— 𝗷𝗼𝗲𝘆 ; BLM ACAB (@clownhentai) June 6, 2020