People don’t talk about it much since he became America’s sweetheart, but Mark Wahlberg used to be a bad kid. In 1988, he was convicted of hitting a Vietnamese man in the head with a wooden stick during an attempt to steal two cases of beer while yelling “Vietnam f*cking sh*t!” An attack that left the man blind in one eye, and for which Wahlberg served 45 days in jail. Wahlberg is now petitioning the Massachusetts governor’s office for a pardon, noting that his convictions could keep him from getting a concessionaire’s license in California “an important consideration given my personal involvement in various restaurant ventures.”
I.E., Wahlburgers, I’m assuming.
Wahlberg, 43, says in the application that he turned his life around and became a successful music artist, actor, and film and television producer. He also notes he has raised millions of dollars for charity and donated his time and efforts for philanthropic causes.
Wahlberg says in the application that he was high on marijuana and narcotics at the time, and police caught him with a small amount of pot. He also apologized for his actions.
“I have not engaged in philanthropic efforts in order to make people forget about my past,” Wahlberg says in the application. “To the contrary, I want people to remember my past so that I can serve as an example of how lives can be turned around and how people can be redeemed.
“Rather than ignore or deny my troubled past, I have used the public spotlight to speak openly about the mistakes I made as a teenager so that others do not make those same mistakes.” [USA Today]
Hmm, nice petition, but maybe next time leave out the pot stuff? “I was high on the pot” might be relevant if you’d been convicted, say, of stealing a pizza or sneaking into a laser light show, not so much when it was of braining a guy with a two-by-four while you ranted about gooks.
In fact, this whole petition seems like a pretty terrible idea from a PR standpoint. As USA Today notes, neither current Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick or his predecessar Mitt Romney has ever granted a pardon. Even worse, it’s an invitation to dredge up some details I imagine Wahlberg would just as soon forget:
Prosecutors reported that he called Lam a “Vietnam f*cking sh*t” at the outset of the attack. When Boston cops apprehended Wahlberg and brought him back to the scene of the assault, he told officers, “You don’t have to let him identify me, I’ll tell you now that’s the mother-f*cker whose head I split open.” Investigators reported that Wahlberg also made “numerous unsolicited racial statements about ‘gooks’ and ‘slant-eyed gooks.’”
In unrelated court filings, government lawyers accused the teenaged Wahlberg and two friends of chasing and throwing rocks at black schoolchildren. On successive days, the trio screamed racial epithets at the students and, during one chase, “the group of white males yelled, “Kill the n*gger, kill the n*gger,” according to a government complaint.
The children were set upon when Wahlberg & Co. spotted them walking through Dorchester. “We don’t like black n*ggers in this area so get the f*ck away from the area,” one of the attackers said to three siblings traveling together. “The group of white males then chased [the siblings] using their mopeds,” the complaint charged. [TheSmokingGun]
To add insult to injury, the official court documents actually list Wahlberg as “Mark Wahlberg a.k.a. Marky Mark.”
While the pardon petition notes that Wahlberg now “attends church almost every day“, Wahlberg said during the press tour for The Departed that he’d never tried to make amends with the actual victims of his crimes:
And though the right thing to do would be to try to find the man and make amends, Wahlberg says, he admits he hasn’t done so — but says he’s no longer burdened by guilt.
“I did a lot of things that I regretted and I certainly paid for my mistakes,” Wahlberg says. “You have to go and ask for forgiveness and it wasn’t until I really started doing good and doing right, by other people as well as myself, that I really started to feel that guilt go away. So I don’t have a problem going to sleep at night. I feel good when I wake up in the morning.” [ABC]
It seems to me “I’ve tried to make amends with my victims” would be a lot more persuasive thing to put on a pardon application than “I go to church every day!” and “it will really help me sell Wahlburgers!” Also, who goes to church every day? That should be be grounds for putting him back on probation.