Green Book writer called out for falsely claiming New Jersey Muslims cheered 9/11
Nick Vallelonga, one of the writers and producers of the Golden Globe-winning dramedy Green Book, has deleted his Twitter account after coming under intense criticism for a 2015 tweet in which he repeated Donald Trump’s thoroughly debunked claim that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the Sept. 11 attacks.
Vallelonga’s tweet called Trump’s falsehood “100% correct” and claimed, “Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”
A representative for Vallelonga did not immediately respond to request for comment about the tweet. A representative for Universal Pictures, which is distributing Green Book, declined to comment.
Vallelonga’s tweet resurfaced Wednesday, just days after Green Book won three awards (Best Screenplay, Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, and Best Supporting Actor) at the Golden Globes. Among the voices calling out Vallelonga was Jordan Horowitz, producer of the 2016 film La La Land.
Posting a screenshot of Vallelonga’s tweet before the account was deleted, Horowitz wrote, “Nick Vallelonga wrote Green Book. My industry just gave him a Golden Globe for writing. This remains on his timeline. Mahershala Ali is a Muslim, and a beautiful, generous and kind man. This is all just too disgusting.”
Ali portrays pianist Don Shirley in Green Book, which centers on a concert tour through the Deep South of the 1960s. Viggo Mortensen plays Shirley’s driver, Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Nick Vallelonga’s father). Ali won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor on Sunday.
Although Green Book has enjoyed awards success and critical acclaim, it has been a magnet for controversy. In November, Mortensen issued a formal apology after using the N-word during a post-screening Q&A in Los Angeles.
Members of Shirley’s family have denounced the film, and it has also been criticized for perpetuating racial stereotypes and the “white savior” trope. On the latter topic, director Peter Farrelly told EW last year, “I don’t think we fall into any of those tropes.”
Farrelly also came under fire Wednesday after New York magazine’s The Cut highlighted two articles from 1998, in Newsweek and The Observer, that both featured anecdotes about Farrelly exposing his penis as some sort of prank.
In a statement to EW, Farrelly confirmed such behavior and said, “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.”
With reporting by Shirley Li.