On the awards circuit, Nick Vallelonga, a cowriter of the Green Book screenplay, has been preaching how the film helps fight racism. “The film is about people coming together, it’s about love," Vallelonga, also a Green Book producer and the son of its subject, Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), told Variety.
However, an anti-Muslim tweet from November 2015 appears to stand against this inclusive message. At the time, Vallelonga was responding to a statement then-presidential candidate Donald Trump made at a campaign rally, in which he claimed he witnessed Muslims in New Jersey cheering the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering," Trump said, according to The Washington Post.
“100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news," Vallelonga replied to Trump on Twitter at the time.
Trump's claim, which he repeated in a November 2015 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, was debunked by several mainstream media outlets, including the Post.
Vallelonga's tweet resurfaced after Green Book won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes. Vallelonga has not yet responded regarding the post, but it — and then his entire Twitter account — has since been deleted.
Vallelonga shares writing credits with Brian Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly, who apologized Thursday for his past propensity to expose his genitals on set, like to Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary. “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," Farrelly told Boston.com.
Green Book won three Golden Globes: Best Film - Comedy or Musical, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, who portrays Dr. Don Shirley, a black queer musician who hired Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga as his driver during a tour of Deep South in the 1960s.
The film is a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars, but it has been plagued by controversies. Green Book has been slammed by Shirley's family for creating "a symphony of lies," and many have noted the problematic racial clichés and the centering of the film's story on the white driver rather than the black musician.