‘Green Book’ writer apologizes for anti-Muslim 9/11 tweet

Nick Vallelonga (far right) apologized to Mahershala Ali (center). (File photo: AFP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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‘Green Book’ writer apologizes for anti-Muslim 9/11 tweet

LOS ANGELES: “Green Book” screenwriter Nick Vallelonga has issued an apology for an anti-Muslim tweet from 2015 in which he expressed support for false claims that Muslims were celebrating in New Jersey following the 9/11 terror attacks.
“I want to apologize. I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with Green Book,” he said in a statement late Thursday.
“I especially deeply apologize to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused,” he said.
“I am also sorry to my late father who changed so much from Dr. Shirley’s friendship and I promise this lesson is not lost on me. ‘Green Book’ is a story about love, acceptance and overcoming barriers, and I will do better.”
Ali, who is Muslim, on Sunday won a Golden Globe award for his role as the real-life piano virtuoso Don Shirley in “Green Book.”
The film, which picked up two other Golden Globes and is expected to be nominated for the Oscars, recounts the unlikely friendship between Shirley, who was black, and his driver, Tony Lip (Vallelonga’s father), during a concert tour through the deep south in 1962.
Vallelonga deleted his Twitter account after the controversial tweet dating back to November 2015 recently resurfaced on social media.
The tweet came in response to then candidate Donald Trump’s claim that he saw thousands of people cheering in Jersey City after the terror attacks.
“@realDonaldTrump 100% correct,” Vallelonga wrote at the time. “Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”
Participant Media, which co-financed and produced “Green Book,” has also released a statement denouncing Vallelonga’s tweet.
“We find Mr.Vallelonga’s Twitter post offensive, dangerous and antithetical to Participant Media’s values. We reject it in no uncertain terms,” it said.


International Hay Festival set to arrive in the UAE

UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance announced Wednesday that the event will start on Feb. 24. (Supplied)
Updated 18 September 2019

International Hay Festival set to arrive in the UAE

DUBAI: For its first edition in the Arab World, the international Hay Festival will arrive in the UAE on Feb. 24, at Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al-Saadiyat and other venues across the city, UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance announced Wednesday. 

The four-day event will host workshops, artistic performances, new technology discovery, storytelling and many more art and literature-related activities.

The festival will take place at Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al-Saadiyat and other venues across the city. (Supplied)

Since 1987, the Hay Festival has launched 125 events globally, attracting more than 4.5 million people to events in 30 locations. 

The festival, originally based in Whales, will bring together writers and thinkers from different cultures and backgrounds to discuss ideas, share knowledge and host conversations. 

The festival aims to spark imagination and curiosity, from children and young literature enthusiasts to seasoned readers.

The Minster of Tolerance Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Al-Nahyan said: “Hay Festival Abu Dhabi will be an important initiative of our Year of Tolerance, which celebrates the legacy of our nation’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, whose tolerance enabled the success we enjoy as a country today.”

Minster of Tolerance Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Al-Nahyan announced the news in a press conference in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied) 

 “(The event) is not only about bringing the festival to Abu Dhabi, but taking Abu Dhabi to the world,” the international director of the Hay Festival, Cristina La Roche, told Arab News.

Cristina La Roche is the international director of the Hay Festival. (Supplied)

The award-winning Syrian poet Adonis is said to be attending the festival and will celebrate his 90th birthday with the participants. “He is one of the world’s greatest poets. He is unquestionably influential not only in Arabic but to poets all around the globe,” Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, told Arab News.   

Peter Florence is the director of Hay Festival. (Supplied) 

Other award-winning novelists like the Saudi Muhammed Hasan Alwan and the Omani Jokha Alharthi will also attend the event. 

Conversations will take place in multiple languages and all sessions will be live translated into Arabic and English. Tickets to all sessions will be free for those in full time education.