“Green Book” screenwriter and producer Nick Vallelonga has issued an apology over an anti-Muslim tweet from November 2015. The social media post, in which Vallelonga supported a claim from Donald Trump that Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey cheered for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, resurfaced earlier this week following Vallelonga’s win at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards for Best Screenplay.
“I want to apologize,” Vallelonga said in a statement. “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.’ 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. 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.”
Trump has maintained he saw thousands of people on 9/11 watching the terrorist attacks from Jersey City and celebrating. Trump first made the claim during a November 2015 rally and said it again during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on the November 22, 2015 edition of ABC’s “This Week.”
“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations,” Trump told Stephanopoulos. “They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something.”
Vallelonga’s tweet from 2015 tagged Trump and read: “100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.” As news outlets began drawing attention to the Tweet, Vallelonga first took down the post and then deleted his entire Twitter account. “Green Book” star Mahershala Ali is a practicing Muslim, which made the screenwriter’s comments all the more problematic for the “Green Book” Oscar campaign.