In the statement—which was posted on his publishing company’s website, Perceval Press—Mortensen wrote, “it is not true, as has been implied in much of the reporting on what I said on Wednesday, that I was naïvely claiming racism had disappeared along with the general use of the N-word. I was actually stating the opposite, that discrimination evolves and changes its vocabulary, and that we must always be vigilant.”
Here’s his statement in full:
The panel followed a screening of the film, which ironically tells a tale of interracial friendship. Mortensen blurted out the slur during a discussion about “racial progress” in America, and while sitting next to his co-star Mahershala Ali. “For instance, no one says n— anymore,” Mortensen said.
Ali later responded to Mortensen’s use of the N-word. “However well-intended or intellectual the conversation may have been, it wasn’t appropriate for Viggo to say the N-word,” Ali said. “He has made it clear to me that he’s aware of this, and apologized profusely.”