The SAG Awards have been criticised after Mark Wahlberg was picked to present an award to the majority Asian cast of Everything Everywhere All at Once.
When he was a teenager, Wahlberg was charged with attacking two Vietnamese men while high on the drug PCP, pleading guilty to felony assault. Police officers reported that Wahlberg used racist slurs to describe both victims.
At the end of the SAG Awards on Sunday (26 February), Wahlberg took to the stage to announce the winner of the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
The award went to Everything Everywhere All at Once, the Oscar-tipped drama about a dimension-jumping laundrette owner starring Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu and Ke Huy Quan.
Viewers shared their thoughts on Twitter, with a number of them condemning the decision to have Wahlberg host the award.
“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,” wrote journalist Bonnie Stiernberg.
“The irony of Mark Wahlberg giving an award to EEAAO,” one person commented.
“Mark Wahlberg (who’s committed multiple hate crimes including against asian people) giving sag ensemble prize to a predominantly Asian cast is genuinely such an embarrassing thing for Hollywood to do,” another person wrote.
“Having Mark Wahlberg present this is so ugly #SAGAwards,” someone else wrote.
Others, however, argued that Wahlberg has reformed in the decades since committing the crimes, and deserved to be allowed to host the award.
The Independent has contacted representatives for Wahlberg and the SAG Awards for comment.
In 2014, Wahlberg unsuccessfully sought a pardon for his attack on the two Vietnamese men, writing in an application: “I am deeply sorry for the actions that I took on the night of April 8, 1988, as well as for any lasting damage that I may have caused the victims.”
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“Since that time, I have dedicated myself to becoming a better person and citizen so that I can be a role model to my children and others.”
In recent years, his victims have expressed differing opinions on whether Wahlberg should still be held accountable for his teenage actions.
You can find a roundup of all the winners from this year’s SAG Awards here.