Wahlberg took to social media to join the myriad of celebrities to call for reform after the May 25 death of Floyd, a black man who was seen in a shocking video that shows him being taken into custody by an officer who places his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes.
“The murder of George Floyd is heartbreaking. We must all work together to fix this problem. I'm praying for all of us. God bless. #blacklivesmatter,” the actor wrote along with a picture of Floyd.
However, fans were quick to point out that the former rapper’s history of allegedly racially motivated crimes disqualifies him from speaking out on the matter of racial injustice. The comments of his Instagram lit up with users reminding the actor of two incidents from the 1980s in which many believe racism played a factor in his violent behavior.
“Remember when you threw rocks at little black girls lmao this isn’t genuine just delete it,” one user commented.
“Shame on you. After what youve done??? Youre posting this,” another user noted.
“haven’t you committed multiple hate crimes that you wanted to get pardoned for?” someone else wrote.
“You should still be in jail. You should NOT be a celebrity. I can’t BELIEVE I watched and PAID for your work. Never never never again,” one upset user commented.
“You have committed hate crimes Mark and have tried to have them expunged from your record. No one will ever forget,” another user wrote.
The comments referred to two incidents from the "Spenser Confidential" actor's past. The first occurred in 1986 when he was 15. Court documents state that Wahlberg was among a group of white boys who harassed a group of black fourth-graders in Boston who were on a field trip to the beach by chasing them down the street, throwing rocks and shouting racial slurs. According to The Associated Press, Wahlberg was issued a civil rights injunction for the incident.
In 1988, a separate, more severe incident occurred in which he did time behind bars for beating a Vietnamese shopkeeper, rendering him unconscious, and shouting racial slurs at him over a case of beer. The actor served 45 days of a two-year sentence. He has since apologized publicly for the assault, but courted controversy in 2014 when he attempted to get a pardon for the incident.
“I don’t really care who he is. It doesn’t make him any exception. If you’re a racist, you’re always going to be a racist. And for him to want to erase it I just think it’s wrong,” Kristyn Atwood, one of the victims of Wahlberg’s 1986 attack, told The Associated Press at the time of his pardon request.
Wahlberg failed to obtain the pardon. However, in a 2016 interview with TheWrap, he noted that he regretted ever even applying.
“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.
He added: ‘“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.”