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Green Book Screenwriter Cosigned Trump’s Propaganda That Muslims Celebrated on 9/11


Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in Green Book (2018)

Truly the Crash of our generation (and we thought that would be Three Billboards), the controversy around Green Book is not letting up, and instead of coming from the movie’s writing, it’s now coming from comments and actions by its screenwriter and director: Nick Vallelonga and Peter Farrelly.

Screenwriter and son of the real-life Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (played by Viggo Mortensen in the movie) had some of his old tweets from 2015 pop up. In November of that year, Vallelonga replied to Donald Trump on Twitter, corroborating the story where Trump claimed he saw Muslims cheering in Jersey City on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers went down.

During a rally, Trump made the claim that he “watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

Of course, this story was disputed and debunked by major publications—not to mention, if you just use your brain and think logically, how would it have been possible for people to know, at that moment, the context of the attack, let alone to celebrate it?

Trump’s story was disputed by major publications, and he tried to prove it true by tweeting a September 18, 2011 report from The Washington Post that said Jersey City law enforcement “detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks,” but the report didn’t say thousands of Muslims and/or Arabs were celebrating the attacks.

However, Vallelonga’s tweet cosigned Trump’s fabrication, as reported by IndieWire, where they also have a screenshot of the now deleted tweet, which reads, “100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possible on local CBS news.”

The tweet was deleted shortly “after 7 pm ET on January 9, 2019, as it resurfaced on social media,” and Vallelonga or someone on his team subsequently deleted the whole account. When asked for comment, according to IndieWire, a Vallelonga representative replied over email, “The Twitter account has been deleted… not sure if any comment is actually needed here.”

The terrible nature of all of this is, of course, compounded by the fact that Mahershala Ali, the Academy Award winner who starred in this movie, is Muslim.

Vallelonga isn’t the only one in hot water. Director Peter Farrelly was called out by The Cut after they reported that he used to “flash his penis as a joke.” The article brings up quotes from a 1998 Observer article by writer Nicola Barker, in which Farrelly talks about showing Cameron Diaz his penis during the filming of There’s Something About Mary.

“Apparently, I say nervously, Peter showed Cameron his penis during the filming … Peter interrupts, horrified: ‘No. We did it before she was in.’ So you risked losing a big star by showing her your penis before she was on board? Peter smiles at my foolishness. ‘Of course! That’s what got her in.’ He stops smiling for a moment. ‘It’s a joke,’ he explains patiently. ‘It’s not like I make a habit of just whipping it out and saying, ‘Hey! Look! My cock!’ We do a joke where, it’s like, Bob says, ‘Pete’s been really crazy, he went out and spent $ 500 on a belt buckle.’ I go, ‘Bob, it’s an investment, it’s not a big deal.’ He says, ‘You’re stupid! $ 500 on a belt buckle!’ I say it’s not stupid … Finally she says, ‘Let me see it.’ And I lift my shirt and have it …’ he grins ‘hanging over.’

“Peter admits that after doing this trick ‘easily 500 times’ he is now in a state of forced early retirement.”

In response to this, Farrelly did come out and admit he did those things, and they were a mistake: “True. I was an idiot. I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I’m deeply sorry.”

All in all, this hasn’t been a good week for Green Book post-Golden Globes, and while I can admit my own bias against the movie, it doesn’t really surprise me that all of this is coming out now. Between this and Lady Gaga having to do damage control for her R. Kelly affiliation, tis the season for past grievances to resurface.

(via IndieWire, image: Universal Pictures)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.