After a social media storm erupted over Mark Wahlberg presenting an award for the Asian cast of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” at Sunday’s 2023 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Mark Wahlberg’s past was brought back to haunt him.
Images showed Wahlberg awarding Ke Huy Quan the Outstanding Performance of a Cast in Motion Picture Award for the film. This was the beginning of outrage that reflected back on the actor’s criminal history.
In 1988, Johnny Trinh, a Vietnamese-American shopkeeper, was attacked by the star at 51 years old. He was also assaulted by another Vietnamese-American man.
Wahlberg punched Trinh’s eye with a stick of wood and knocked the other out.
According to the U.K’s Daily Mail, investigators claimed that Wahlberg verbally mocked East Asians’ eye shapes and used the g-word racial slur.
Thirty-five years later, the internet wasn’t so quick to forget.
Bonnie Stiernberg (Managing Editor of InsideHook) tweeted about Wahlberg’s presence: “I gotta admit, having Mark Wahlberg who literally went into prison as a teenager for committing hate crimes against a Vietnamese male, present an award at the cast of Everything Everywhere At Once was certainly a decision.”
Some people pointed out that Will Smith wasn’t allowed to present awards, while Wahlberg was.
Matt Samet, an attorney from California, tweeted, “REALLY interesting that Will Smith wasn’t invited to present Best Actress while Mark Wahlberg is presenting the ensemble award to a film with a predominantly Asian cast when he punched and barely blinded a Vietnamese man….”
“Will Smith is expelled while Mark Wahlberg gets to award an award to an Asian cast,” Torraine Walker, journalist, and commentator said.
Ryan Aguirre (a publicist) sarcastically tweeted about the incident, “Good Lord Mark Wahlberg, standing up on a platform with all those Asian people, without assaulting any.”
Others supported Wahlberg by noting that he has made significant improvements since the incident and has since apologized.
“People don’t have the ability to change since they were teenagers?” One asked.
Citing a separate Daily Mail report, another wrote that Wahlberg was 16 years old and high. The victim had forgiven Wahlberg and Wahlberg offered to fly him to Los Angeles to make his apologies. The victim was not severely injured and was already blind. Really?”
In a 2016 interview with TheWrap, Wahlberg stated that he was relieved to learn that the man’s eye injury was from the 1970s. He also said that he had been able to meet with the husband and wife of the victim and apologize for the horrible acts. It did bring some good.
Wahlberg also stated that he made “a lot of terrible errors” and “paid dearly for them.”