Amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, Mark Wahlberg’s past hate crime charges started trending on Twitter on Sunday.
After the 49-year-old Hollywood star shared a tribute in support of Black Lives Matter on his social media accounts, users online discovered he has an entire section on his Wikipedia page entitled, “Hate crimes” — though the section has since been renamed “Racial incidents.” During the ’80s, the Boogie Nights star was involved in multiple incidents, which the actor has addressed and apologized for multiple times throughout the decades.
During a field trip to Savin Hill Beach in Dorchester in 1986, Wahlberg, then 15, was part of a racially motivated attack against a mostly black group of 4th graders. The future Transformers star and two of his white friends chased the younger students down the street while throwing rocks at them and shouting racial slurs, according to court records published by The Smoking Gun.
Court documents show the boys yelled, “Kill the n****s,” until they were stopped by an ambulance driver. Wahlberg and his two white friends were issued a civil rights injunction, which meant if they ever committed another hate crime, they would be sent to jail, according to The Guardian.
Kristyn Atwood, one of the victims during this incident, spoke out against Wahlberg in 2015 after the actor attempted to get a hate crime expunged from his record. Wahlburg was looking to get the charges dismissed in order to obtain a concessionaire’s license in California for his family’s restaurant, Wahlburgers.
“I don’t think he should get a pardon,” Atwood said to the Associated Press. “I don’t really care who he is. It doesn’t make him any exception. If you’re a racist, you’re always going to be a racist. And for him to want to erase it I just think it’s wrong.”
However, Mary Belmonte, the white teacher who was in charge of the neighborhood beach field trip that day, now thinks Wahlberg deserves to be forgiven. “I believe in forgiveness,” Belmonte said. “He was just a young kid – a punk – in the mean streets of Boston. He didn’t do it specifically because he was a bad kid. He was just a follower doing what the other kids were doing.”
Wahlberg Spent 45 Days in Jail for Attacking Two Vietnamese Men In 1988
Wahlberg again found himself in trouble with the law. At age 16, according to the sentencing memorandum, Wahlberg attacked two Vietnamese men while trying to steal beer near his home in Dorchester.
A man named Thanh Lam was getting out of his car while carrying two cases of beer when Wahlberg called him a “Vietnam f***ing s***” and hit him over the head with a five-foot wooden stick until he lost consciousness.
Documents show that Wahlberg then ran up to Hoa Trinh, another Vietnamese man, asking for his help to hide while a police cruiser drove past. Wahlberg punched Trinh in the face and afterward made comments to police about “slant-eyed gooks.”
Wahlberg was convicted of assault and battery, marijuana possession and criminal contempt for violating his civil rights injunction.
In December 2014, Wahlberg discussed with the Associated Press why he was seeking to be pardoned for his past crimes. “I have apologized, many times,” he said. “The first opportunity I had to apologize was right there in court when all the dust had settled and I was getting shackled and taken away, and making sure I paid my debt to society and continue to try and do things that make up for the mistakes that I’ve made.”
Trinh supported Wahlberg applying for a pardon. “He should not have the crime hanging over him any longer,” Trinh said. “He paid for his crime when he went to prison. I am not saying that it did not hurt when he punched me in the face, but it was a long time ago.”
Wahlberg was initially charged with attempted murder, but it was then reduced to criminal contempt, which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years. After pleading guilty, Wahlberg was given a two-year sentence at the Deer Island House of Correction in Boston. However, after serving 45 days in the correctional facility, he was released.
Wahlberg Dropped His Application for a Pardon & Apologized to One of His Victims Personally
While promoting the film Deepwater Horizon at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016, Wahlberg said he regretted trying to get his former crimes expunged from his record. The Wrap reported that Wahlberg said, “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.
“I didn’t need that, I spent 28 years righting the wrong,” Wahlberg continued. “I didn’t need a piece of paper to acknowledge it. I was kind of pushed into doing it, I certainly didn’t need to or want to relive that stuff over again.”
Wahlberg only wants to continue to move forward and was grateful that through the backlash of seeking a pardon, he was able to personally apologize to Trinh, he said.
“I was relieved to find out that the injuries to his eye had occurred in the early ’70s and not from the incident that happened that night,” Wahlberg said. “But I was able to meet with him and his wife and his daughter and apologize for those horrific acts. Some good did come out of it.”