The man who Mark Wahlberg viciously assaulted when he was a teenager said he forgives the actor for the 1988 crime and also revealed Wahlberg did not leave him blinded in one eye during the attack, as was previously widely reported.
Wahlberg was arrested and spent 45 days in jail for crimes that included beating Hoa Trinh, a Vietnamese immigrant. Wahlberg tried to steal cases of alcohol from a man, Thanh Lam, at a convenience store. He used racial slurs during the robbery and beat Lam over the head with a stick before fleeing the scene. That's when he encountered Trinh, who he also assaulted, punching him the face. NBC reports that despite shouting a bunch of racist, vile shit at his victims, Wahlberg claimed race had nothing to do with attack. A court disagreed because OBVIOUSLY RACE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT SHIT:
Court documents indicate that in Boston, on April 8, 1988, Wahlberg attacked two Vietnamese-American men, knocking one man — Thanh Lam — unconscious with a five-foot-long wooden stick, and punching another — Hoa Trinh.
Investigators noted Wahlberg made several unsolicited racial statements about "g—ks" and "slant-eyed g—ks" at the time. He was arrested, charged with attempted murder, convicted of assault, and served 45 days in prison. Wahlberg was 16-years old, admitted to being intoxicated, and insisted race had nothing to do with his crime.
But his assault conviction was accompanied by another, for contempt for court. That stemmed from a series of attacks he committed two years earlier, chasing and hurling rocks and racial epithets at African-American school children. A court prohibited him from assaulting, threatening, or intimidating anyone because of race or national origin; the 1988 investigation found him in violation of the order, meaning the court believed race did play a role in the attacks on Lam and Trinh.
Wahlberg was tried as an adult for the crimes against Trinh and Lam and given a two year jail sentence with 21 months suspended. He only served 45 days before being released. Recently, Wahlberg has been working hard to get a pardon for those crimes so he can
win an Oscar for his new role in The Gambler this year get a concessionaire license for his Wahlberg's burger chain. (Another terrifying theory being floated is that Wahlberg wants the pardon so he can someday become a cop.)
The Daily Mail tracked down Trinh, one of the victims in the 1988 attack. For more than two decades, the story of Wahlberg's attack on the men included reports that he had beat Trinh so severely he left him blind in one eye. Trinh (who was born Hoa Trinh but now goes by "Johnny") told the Daily Mail that part isn't true—he was already blind in his eye before the attack:
In his first ever interview since the attack Johnny Trinh revealed to Mail Online he was already blind in one eye after being injured while fighting the Communists in the Vietnam War.
While Wahlberg's unprovoked assault left him shaken it did not cause any lasting damage.
'I was not blinded by Mark Wahlberg,' said 59-year-old Vietnamese-born Trinh.
'He did hurt me, but my left eye was already gone. He was not responsible for that.'
Trinh also told the Daily Mail he had no idea the man who attacked him went on to be one of the most famous movie stars in the world. He said he would like to meet Wahlberg personally and tell him he forgives him. Trinh said he hopes Wahlberg gets the pardon he is seeking for his past crimes.
"He was young and reckless but I forgive him now," said Trinh. "Everyone deserves another chance... He paid for his crime when he went to prison," he said. "I am not saying that it did not hurt when he punched me in the face, but it was a long time ago."
Others are not so eager to forgive Wahlberg or stand quietly by as the government pardons someone who already got off fairly easy (a two-year sentence that turned into 45 days is pretty light). An Asian American activist group called 18 Million Rising wants the governor of Massachusetts to turn down the pardon request (emphasis theirs).
Now, over 25 years after these horrific crimes, Wahlberg is petitioning the Massachusetts State Parole Board and Governor Deval Patrick to pardon his hate crime conviction. Wahlberg claims that he is a changed man, and no longer the person he was in 1988 when he shamelessly shattered the lives of two Asian men.
But Wahlberg's pardon isn't an attempt to erase this part of his life and wipe the racial slate clean. It's all about business.
A hashtag on Twitter called #nopardonmarkwahlberg is filled with people who also object to the pardon request.
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