Viggo Mortensen has apologised for using the N-word while talking about his new movie Green Book during a recent Q&A session.
In the film, The Lord of the Rings star plays a bouncer hired by famed African-American pianist Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali, to serve as his driver and security during a 1960s tour of the American South.
Viggo sat down for a chat with Mahershala and director Peter Farrelly following a screening of Green Book at the ArcLight Hollywood on Wednesday (07Nov18) and launched into a speech about race in America, during which he said, “For instance, no one says n**ger anymore,” shocking the audience and reportedly causing a woman to shout “Don’t say that!”
He has now issued an apology to The Hollywood Reporter in which he vowed to never use that word again.
“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,” he said. “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. I do not use the word in private or in public. I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again.”
He concluded by saying he signed on for Green Book because he wanted to “expose ignorance and prejudice in the hope that our movie’s story might help in some way to change people’s views and feelings regarding racial issues”.
Dick Schulz, a Hollywood-based freelance director, drew attention to Viggo’s N-word shocker when he posted about it on Twitter, and he gave more context in a chat with the publication.
“He went, ‘I’m gonna go off on a tangent here, but it’s important, and I don’t like saying the word, but, for instance, people don’t say’ – and then he said the N-word in its entirety – ‘anymore,’ and you could just feel the room immediately tense up,” Schulz said. “I think that he immediately regretted it… He went on for I don’t know how long it was… trying to steer the ship back to where he was trying to go.”