news Mark Wahlberg Criticized for Presenting SAG Award to ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Cast

Mark Wahlberg couldn’t boogie his way out of the backlash to his appearance at the 2023 SAG Awards.

The “Boogie Nights” alum presented the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture to the cast of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” during this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony on February 26. The predominantly Asian and Asian-American cast was heavily favored to win the prize.

Wahlberg was previously convicted of assaulting two Vietnamese-American men in 1988. Wahlberg, who was 16 at the time and allegedly high on PCP, hit Thanh Lam in the head with a stick and punched Johnny Trinh in the face to steal alcohol. Per investigators, Wahlberg used racist language at the time of the attack (via Rolling Stone).

Wahlberg was accused of beating Trinh to the point that he lost sight in one of his eyes; however, those injuries were pre-existing and sustained in the 1970s before Trinh’s altercation with Wahlberg. He was charged as an adult with attempted murder and sentenced to two years on felony assault, but served only 45 days. He applied for a pardon in 2014 but ultimately dropped the request in 2016.

Wahlberg has not publicly commented on presenting the SAG Award to Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, and the rest of the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” ensemble cast, but viewers are slamming the decision to have Wahlberg present in the first place.

“It must have been quite a shock for Mark Wahlberg to witness a group of Asians beating white people,” journalist Jeff Yang wrote.

Reporter Bonnie Stiernberg tweeted, “I gotta say, having Mark Wahlberg, who literally went to jail as a teen for committing a hate crime against a Vietnamese man, present an award to the cast of ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ was certainly a choice.”

Wahlberg previously told the Associated Press in 2014 that he has “apologized many times” over his past actions (via The New York Post).

“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,” Wahlberg said.

The “Departed” actor later admitted that he regretted applying for a pardon request for the conviction.

“I didn’t need that, I spent 28 years righting the wrong,” Wahlberg told The Wrap following the 2016 Toronto Film Festival premiere of his film “Deepwater Horizon,” adding, “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 noted that he met with Trinh’s wife and daughter to “apologize for those horrific acts,” concluding, “Some good did come out of it.”

The “Transformers” star recently has dedicated his career to “faith-based” projects and was defended by “Arthur the King” co-star Simu Liu. The “Barbie” actor deleted past tweets criticizing Wahlberg’s attempt to be pardoned for the 1988 assault and took to Instagram to explain why he chose to work with Wahlberg decades later.

“I deleted a couple of tweets I made regarding the past actions of one of my costars as a gesture of professionalism and to open to door to progressive conversations and (hopefully) positive change,” Liu wrote in 2020. “Obviously it’d be pretty weird to go to work with that tweet still up. I meant what I said in the moment; I was very angry hearing about what happened. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s room to grow and work together to find an opportunity to educate and do some good, which I’m excited to do in addition to shooting the movie. Progressive discussion will lead to dialogue, and dialogue will lead to action.”