A former prosecutor who secured a civil rights injunction against a young Mark Wahlberg after he hurled rocks and racial slurs at black schoolchildren has said he should not be pardoned for an attack on two Asian men two years later.
Judith Beals, a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general, said she believed in “forgiveness and reconciliation” but Transformers actor Wahlberg’s request should be denied because he had not acknowledged the racial element of his crimes in documents he filed with the state last November.
“That acknowledgement of the crime and that facing of history is absolutely critical in the issuing of a pardon,” she said.
Wahlberg, who became rapper Marky Mark and then an A-list actor nominated for an Oscar, acknowledged in his pardon application that he was high on marijuana and drugs at the time. He said he had since dedicated himself to becoming a better person as an adult.
“I’ve been looking for redemption (since) the day I woke up and realised that I done some horrific things and was on a path of self-destruction, as well as causing a lot of people harm,” Wahlberg, 43, whose films include Boogie Nights and Lone Survivor, said in a December interview.
“When I decided to go and petition for a pardon, it wasn’t based on the things I accomplished in my career. It’s been the things I’ve been able to do in my personal life: giving back to the community and helping kids, especially inner-city kids and at-risk youth and kids growing up in that same situation.”
Wahlberg wants to be officially cleared of a 1988 incident in which he hit a Vietnamese man on the head with a wooden stick while trying to steal drink from a convenience store. Wahlberg, then 16, punched another Vietnamese man in the face while trying to avoid police.
He ended up being convicted as an adult of assault and other charges and was sentenced to three months in jail. He was released after about 45 days.
Ms Beals said what made Wahlberg’s 1988 crimes unique was that, just two years earlier, he had been issued a court order triggering criminal charges in the event he committed another hate crime.
According to court filings in that 1986 case, which Ms Beals prosecuted, Wahlberg and two white friends chased three black siblings in Boston’s Dorchester neighbourhood, throwing rocks and yelling racial epithets.
The following day Wahlberg and a larger group of white friends harassed a group of mostly black children until an ambulance driver intervened.
Ms Beals argued that Wahlberg’s status and wealth should not place him in a better position than others to erase his misdeeds. She also suggested hate crimes should be held to a higher standard.
Meanwhile Wahlberg’s film Transformers: Age Of Extinction is heading the nominations at this year’s Golden Raspberry Awards, known as the Razzies.
The action sequel led all films with seven nominations, including worst picture, worst sequel, worst screenplay and worst screen combo.
Transformers is also up for worst director for Michael Bay, worst supporting actress for Nicola Peltz, and worst supporting actor for Kelsey Grammer, who was also recognised for his supporting parts in The Expendables 3, ’Legends Of Oz and Think Like A Man Too.
This year’s other worst picture nominees are Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, Left Behind, ’The Legend Of Hercules and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The Razzies, launched in 1980 as a spoof of Hollywood’s awards season, has also added a new category this year called the redeemer award that lauds past honourees.