Remember last week?
It was just a few days ago when actor Mark Wahlberg looked like the next celebrity to get canceled. The “Transformers” star made the mistake of trying to heal the nation after a police incident left an unarmed, cooperative black man dead.
“The murder of George Floyd is heartbreaking. We must all work together to fix this problem,” he wrote. “I’m praying for all of us. God bless.”
It’s hard to imagine a more positive, harmless message. Think again. That generic virtue signaling caused a kerfuffle. Social media followers recoiled at his kind words, dredging up the star’s ugly past in the process.
In 1986, a then 15-year-old Wahlberg and three friends were charged for chasing three black children and pelting them with rocks while yelling: “Kill the n*****s” until an ambulance driver intervened.
The next day, Wahlberg harrassed another group of mostly black children (around the age of nine or 10) at the beach, gathering other white men to join in racially abusing and throwing rocks at them.
A seemingly unrelated second incident occurred two years later in 1988, when Wahlberg attacked two Vietnamese men while high on the drug PCP.
The Independent reached out to Wahlberg’s representatives for comment after regurgitating his past. It’s likely other news sites did the same, covering some angry social media rants like a major news story.
The media circus was loud and impossible to ignore at the time.
— Melayna Williams 😉🍔 (@MelaynaWilliams) June 8, 2020
Has anyone heard about the incident since then? Have we seen any follow-up stories? Did social media users spend the last seven days bombarding the star with questions about his past?
No, no and no.
More importantly, Team Wahlberg went radio silent. He didn’t apologize or even address the issue in any fashion. Like his character in “The Fighter,” Wahlberg kept his head down and waited for the blows to sail over him.
And they did.
The woke mob is now obsessed with the T-shirt worn by a college football coach and other inanities. It’s certainly possible Wahlberg’s past will be weaponized against him again.
What else didn’t happen? Wahlberg’s legion of co-stars didn’t share stories of any misbehavior on or off movie sets. The actor just appeared in “Spencer Confidential,” a Netflix original which could spark a new franchise.
For what it’s worth, the actor previously addressed his actions and fully apologized for the young man he once was.
Wahlberg remains self-conscious about his past and told me during a recent press conference for “Patriot’s Day” that he is trying to make up for it through charitable work with the Boys and Girls Clubs and through his own life example.
“Considering where I came from and coming up in an area like this is not an easy thing to do, but that’s why I want to focus so much on giving back and make sure I can create opportunity for kids growing up in Dorchester, Roxbury, inner city average youth, and tell them that if I can accomplish what I set out to do through hard work and dedication, they can do the same,” Wahlberg said.
The actor also caught flak for attempting to expunge his record. He admitted that was wrong and fully apologized for his actions. That included personal apologies to the people directly impacted by his crimes.
“It was one of those things where it was just kind of presented to me, and if I could’ve done it over again I would never have focused on that or applied,” Wahlberg said of the pardon application, which was met with protests from an Asian American activist group when it was announced in 2014.
“I didn’t need that, I spent 28 years righting the wrong. 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 said of the 1988 incident, for which he served 45 days in prison.
Why apologize again?
Other stars have taken a similar approach to the woke mob. Adam Carolla never apologizes, so the woke mob mostly lets him alone. Ricky Gervais has the same attitude, so the Cancel Culture attacks on him dry up quickly.
There is a catch to this approach, though. Cancel Culture has many allies, including cowardly corporations. If a few major film studios suddenly demanded Wahlberg re-apologize, it could complicate matters. The media tried to make Warner Bros. get out of the Harry Potter business, but it didn’t work.
For now, Wahlberg is safe to make more movies and continue his philanthropic deeds.