On Sunday night, Wahlberg presented the mostly Asian cast of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” with the award for best ensemble cast in a motion picture.
But people were quick to criticize the guild for choosing the “Father Stu” star to present this award, considering the anti-Asian and anti-Black crimes the actor committed as a teen.
In 1988, a 16-year-old Wahlberg hit a Vietnamese man in the head with a 5-foot wooden stick while trying to steal alcohol, beating the man unconscious and sending him to the hospital, CBS News and USA Today report. That same day, he punched another Vietnamese man in the face while trying to avoid the police. He used a series of racist slurs during the incident, according to NBC News.
Wahlberg was charged as an adult for attempted murder but was instead convicted of assault and served about 45 days in jail. He was also charged with criminal contempt for violating a prior civil rights injunction, CBS reports.
Previously, in 1986, Wahlberg and his friends chased a group of mostly Black fourth-graders on a beach in Boston, threw rocks at them and called them the N-word. Wahlberg and his friends received a civil rights injunction as a warning — meaning that if they committed another hate crime, they’d go to jail. Wahlberg’s assault on the two Asian men later violated this.
Wahlberg and the Screen Actors Guild did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but people on Twitter did not hold back.
In 2014, Wahlberg sought a pardon from Massachusetts state officials for his 1988 conviction but dropped the request in 2016. That year, he told The Wrap that he regretted the pardon request.
“It was one of those things where it was just kind of presented to me, and if I could’ve done it over again I would never have focused on that or applied,” Wahlberg said, claiming he “spent 28 years righting the wrong.”
“I didn’t need a piece of paper to acknowledge it,” he added. “I was kind of pushed into doing it, I certainly didn’t need to or want to relive that stuff over again”
He also told The Guardian in 2020 that he “did the work” to distance himself from his past.
“I took it upon myself to own up to my mistakes and go against the grain and not be a part of the gang any more — to say that I was going to go and do my own thing. Which made it 10 times more difficult to walk from my home to the train station, to go to school, to go to work,” he said.
But some Twitter users argued that the Asian community deserved better.
“out of all people why did they have MARK WAHLBERG,” one person tweeted. “you could’ve chosen anyone else.”