The co-writer and director of the Green Book, a historic dramatic film which follows a gay or bi black entertainer during his tour through the racist south, have both come under fire recently for an Islamophobic tweet and sexual misconduct, respectively.
Green Book co-writer Nick Vallelonga recently deleted his Twitter account after Twitter users uncovered his November 25, 2015 tweet backing up then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s false claim that “thousands and thousands” of New Jersey Muslim-Americans cheered the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
In the tweet, Vallelonga wrote, “@realDonaldTrump 100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”
As IndieWire.com helpfully explains:
Trump’s story was disputed by major publications such as The Washington Post and New York Magazine. In a September 2017 article published by New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, writer Olivia Nuzzi called Trump’s story a “false claim.” Trump tried to prove the story was true when he tweeted 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 made no mention that thousands of Muslims and/or Arabs were celebrating the attacks.
Vallelonga’s tweet is especially odious considering that the film’s lead character is played by Mahershala Ali, a Muslim-American actor who also appeared in the 2018 Academy Award-winning gay drama, Moonlight.
After the tweet resurfaced, Vallelonga deleted his Twitter account. When asked for a comment about his Islamophobic tweet, his agent responded, “The twitter account has been deleted… not sure if any comment is actually needed here.”
Green Book recently won three Golden Globe Awards: Vallelonga won Best Screenplay, Ali won Best Supporting Actor and the film won Best Comedy/Musical.
Despite its accolades, more unflattering stories continue to circulate about it. The family of the real-life man it’s based on has called Vallelonga’s screenplay “hurtful” and a “symphony of lies.” Other critics have blasted the film for resorting to a “magical negro” trope that glosses over historical racism to create a feel-good story of a white character’s redemption.
Even worse, the film’s director Peter Farrelly recently apologized for a 1998 Newsweek story mentioning how he used to flash his penis on film sets as a crude joke. A film executive named Tom Rothman and and actress Cameron Diaz were both tricked into seeing Farrelly’s dong during the filming of the crass 1998 comedy There’s Something About Mary.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Farrelly wrote, “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.”