'Green Book' Star Viggo Mortensen Apologizes For Using N-Word During Panel

Photo by Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mortensen stars opposite Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali in the upcoming film about a classical pianist and driver touring the American South in the 60s.
Sydney Scott Nov, 09, 2018

Viggo Mortensen has issued an apology after dropping the N-word during a recent panel, promoting his upcoming film, Green Book.

The actor used the word while discussing Green Book in a post-screening Q&A, which also featured co-star and Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali and director Peter Farrelly.

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Universal Pictures

Mortensen recalled the incident in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

“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 explained. “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,”Mortensen continued.

He concluded, “One of the reasons I accepted the challenge of working on Peter Farrelly’s movie Green Book was 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. It is a beautiful, profound movie story that I am very proud to be a part of.”

Dick Schulz, who attended the Q&A, said that Mortensen’s use of the word was all anyone could talk about after the panel, with many expressing complete shock.

Green Book, which is set to be released November 16, stars Ali as an African-American classical pianist named Dr. Don Shirley, who tours the American South in the 1960s with his driver (Mortensen).