Mark Wahlberg is under fire this weekend after he posted a message in support of the George Floyd protests around the nation. While his message of support was a positive attempt, his past actions negated it for many followers.
Wahlberg has been involved in several alleged hate crimes or racial incidents before becoming an actor. It is something the actor has grappled with as he grows older and attempts to right the wrongs. Some of this has been through questionable attempts to pardon his convictions, specifically a 1988 incident involving an assault on a Vietnamese man while trying to steal beer from a convenience store according to the Chicago Tribune.
"I've been looking for redemption (since) the day I woke up and realized that I done some horrific things and was on a path of self-destruction, as well as causing a lot of people harm," Wahlberg said in an interview in 2015. "When I decided to go and petition for a pardon, it wasn't based on the things I accomplished in my career. It's been the things I've been able to do in my personal life: giving back to the community and helping kids, especially inner-city kids and at-risk youth and kids growing up in that same situation."
While the Asian men assaulted by Wahlberg have accepted his apologies over the years, this is far from the only time Wahlberg has had racial issues tied to his name. One member of a group of black people showed this by opposing his attempted pardon and saying that the actor hasn't concretely changed. A March 2020 The Guardian interview may support this point of view.
The Boogie Nights actor in the chat defines his past violent actions in a way that raised eyebrows with those reading the interview. While Wahlberg is quick to discuss the violence on the street, he didn't seem keen to talk about his own violence as he described himself as "rough around the edges."
"I was always in trouble, and I was kind of little. In the circumstances where I was being preyed upon, at times, I had to protect and defend myself. It's not an easy thing to navigate as a teenage kid who's 5ft 2in, 120lb, with grown men," Wahlberg said to The Guardian. Please scroll down to see what his past has demonstrated and how many reacted over the years.
The most damning of the incidents for Wahlberg is the assault of two Vietnamese men back in 1988. It isn't his first brush with racial violence, but it is the most horrendous. Wahlberg was convicted due to the incident where he hit one of the men in the head with a wooden stick while stealing beer. The 16-year-old Wahlberg then hit another Vietnamese gentleman while attempting to avoid police, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He served 45 days of a 90-day sentence for the attack.
black children, yelling racial slurs at them and throwing rocks. This behavior continued the next day when Wahlberg and friends targeted a group of mostly black schoolchildren, including a victim from the day before according to the Chicago Tribune. Wahlberg reportedly did more of the same and was lated hit with a civil action for violating the victim's civil rights.
"I don't really care who he is," victim Kristyn Atwood said about his attempted pardon. "It doesn't make him any exception. If you're a racist, you're always going to be a racist. And for him to want to erase it I just think it's wrong. … It was a hate crime and that's exactly what should be on his record forever."
A third incident occurred in 1992 when Wahlberg broke the jaw of his neighbor, Robert D. Crehan. The assault charges were later dropped after Crehan accepted a settlement from Wahlberg's camp. According to the victim, Wahlberg kicked him while friend Derek McCall held him down. According to the criminal complaint against Wahlberg, Crehan says he did nothing to provoke the attack.
Wahlberg has apologized several times for his past, including during the 1992 incident. He admitted to using racist language in 1986, apologized to the attack on the Vietnamese men, and claimed he had been drinking both times. He has also held to the notion that he is deserving of a second chance and wants to do well.
"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," Wahlberg told The Guardian.
Wahlberg has made attempts to have his convictions scrubbed and pardoned. He even has the support of victim Johnny Trinh who accepted Wahlberg's apology and wanted to make efforts to get him pardoned.
"I would like to see him get a pardon," Trinh said according to The Washington Post. "He should not have the crime hanging over him any longer. … He paid for his crime when he went to prison. I am not saying that it did not hurt when he punched me in the face, but it was a long time ago."
That said, there was much backlash against the Three Kings star and his attempts to seek a pardon. Not only did an ex-prosecutor call on the pardon to be kicked out, but the victim of his earliest incident also did not accept an apology. Judith Beals, the prosecutor, also felt that Wahlberg didn't acknowledge the actual crime. "That acknowledgement of the crime and that facing of history is absolutely critical in the issuing of a pardon," She said at the time.
For Wahlberg, he seems to regret attempting to take this action and said as much during a 2016 Q&A at the Toronto Film Festival. "It was one of those things where it was just kind of presented to me, and if I could've done it over again I would never have focused on that or applied," Wahlberg said at the event. "It was one of those things where it was just kind of presented to me, and if I could've done it over again I would never have focused on that or applied."