Green Book screenwriter Nick Vallelonga has issued an apology in response to the unearthing of a 2015 tweet where he claimed to see Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey “cheering” the Sept. 11 attacks. “I want to apologize,” Vallelonga said in a statement, per Variety. “I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with ‘Green Book.’”
The tweet resurfaced Wednesday, courtesy of Jordan Horowitz, who is best known for producing the 2016 film La La Land as well as being the person who announced that Moonlight was the actual winner for Best Picture two years ago. In addition to bringing awareness towards Vallelonga’s old tweet, Horowitz mentioned that Mahershala Ali, one of the stars of Green Book, is a Muslim.
“I especially deeply apologize to the incredibly brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali and all member of the Muslim faith for the hurt I have caused,” Vallelonga continued. “I am also sorry to my late father who changed so much from Dr. Shirley’s friendship and I promise this lesson is not lost on me. ‘Green Book’ is a story about love, acceptance and overcoming barriers, and I will do better.”
Horowitz’s decision to expose Vallelonga’s anti-Muslim tweet at this very moment is quite suspicious considering the Academy is currently in the midst of its week-long Oscar nominations voting period, closing on Monday. The move may not prevent Green Book from snagging a few nominations, but then again, this year’s ceremony has already dealt with enough controversy with their former host Kevin Hart. The last thing that the Academy wants is to be taken to task for celebrating such a highly contentious nominee.
Green Book has been mired in controversy throughout its theatrical run, starting with the family of pianist Dr. Donald W. Shirley, played by Ali, condemning his depiction in the film. Vallelonga's apology, coupled with the one from director Peter Farrelly, who admitted to flashing his penis at cast members as a joke, can only hurt the movie's chances of winning big at the Oscars. If anything, Horowitz may have done the Academy a favor.