“I want to apologize,” Vallelonga said in a statement issued Thursday night. “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.’ 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. 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.”
Vallelonga had deleted his Twitter account on Wednesday after the tweet recirculated.
Meanwhile, co-financer and producer Participant Media also released a statement, saying, “We find Mr. Vallelonga’s Twitter post offensive, dangerous, and antithetical to Participant Media’s values. We reject it in no uncertain terms.”
“@realDonaldTrump 100% correct,” the Nov. 2015 tweet read. “Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”
At a November rally, Trump had said, “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos challenged Trump on the claim, but the then-presidential candidate insisted that he saw Muslims celebrating with his own eyes.
Vallelonga’s script is based on the experiences of his father, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), driving concert pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Ali) through the Deep South for a tour in the early 1960s. Shirley’s family spoke out against the film, disputing its depiction of the events of the tour and stating they had not been contacted during production or conception.
Director Peter Farrelly, Mortensen, and Vallelonga have defended the film, which won Golden Globes on Jan. 6 for best comedy or musical, best screenplay and supporting actor for Ali. The screenplay was written by Vallelonga, Brian Currie and director Peter Farrelly.