“Viggo is a great, good-hearted guy who was trying to make a nice point and it came out horribly wrong and he apologized immediately and knew what he had done,” Farrelly told Variety on Friday at the movie’s AFI Fest presented by Audi gala screening in Hollywood. “He just not that guy. He’s a beautiful human being.”
Mortensen came under fire on social media for using the N-word during a panel proceeding a Film Independent screening of “Green Book” on Wednesday when audience members began tweeting about the incident, which occurred at the ArcLight Hollywood.
In an attempt to prove that hate speech can change over time, Mortensen used the N-word as an example of language that’s no longer accepted, sources told Variety.
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“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,” Mortensen said. “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 added that one of the reasons he signed on to the movie “was to expose ignorance and prejudice in the hope that our movie’s story might help in some way to change peoples’ views and feelings regarding racial issues. It is a beautiful, profound movie story that I am very proud to be a part of.”
Ali told Variety at AFI Fest, “It was clear where he was going, but the use of the word was obviously surprising. I think he’s much more aware now of sort of the repercussions of that word.”
Producer Kwame Parker said Mortensen had a forgivable “slip of the tongue.”
“It’s an ugly word that I don’t think anybody should use no matter what their color is,” Parker told Variety. “He misspoke but that’s not who he is…. When we were filming he was such a lovely actor and person at his core. Forget ethnicity. At the core, he is a beautiful soul. That’s who he is…That wasn’t him. It was him trying to explain something, talk about something and it was a slip.”