Green Book screenwriter Nick Vallelonga who won the Golden Globe 2019 landed in a ring of controversy for his Islamophobic tweets during the 2016 US Presidential Elections. The screenwriter has now apologised for his past anti-Muslim comments where he claimed to have witnessed thousands of Muslims in New Jersey to celebrate the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The anti-Muslim tweets were believed to be a response to US President Donald Trump's campaign. The latest controversy came after the re-emergence of the tweet Vallelonga sent following a rally in November 2015, where Mr Trump - then a presidential candidate said: "I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down."
"@realDonaldTrump 100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news," Vallelonga wrote.
After the tweet resurfaced, Vallelonga took down his Twitter profile and apologised for the comments, especially to actor Mahershala Ali, who played one of the leads in the Peter Farrelly-directed film. Vallelonga’s anti-Muslim tweet came as a shock given the fact that he had wrote Green Book which is about the story of his father Tony Lip, who drove black concert pianist Don Shirley through the US Deep South amid the racism of the 1960s.
"I want to apologise. 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, he said.
"I especially deeply apologize to the incredibly brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali and all members of the Muslim faith for the hurt I have caused," he added.
Vallelonga is the son of Tony Vallelonga who is portrayed in Green Book by the actor Viggo Mortensen.
"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 said.