Viggo Mortensen Says Accusations of Racism are ‘Unfair’ and ‘Dangerous’

Viggo Mortensen spoke to France 24 [video interview] to promote his Oscar-contender “Green Book.” Of course, the conversation had to turn to the actor’s recent use of the N-word. If you remember, Mortensen used the derogatory word during a November post-screening Q&A. Mortensen has always maintained that his intention behind using the word was to explain the inherent core of what racism is about.
“I would like to say that how it has been explained, that I was simply saying the N-word is not used anymore, that’s not what I was saying,” Mortensen told France24. “What I was saying was that just because people don’t say that word anymore, it doesn’t mean they don’t still harbor discrimination and racism inside of themselves. Racism tends to evolve and change its vocabulary, its face. That doesn’t mean it has disappeared. We always need to be on guard. That’s what I was saying. The full context.”

READ MORE: Despite Backlash, ‘Green Book' Wins National Board of Review's Best Picture Award

Mortensen had immediately apologized for saying the word. Despite all that, the actor remains the biggest challenge for A Star Is Born's Bradley Cooper in the Best Actor Oscar race.
Mortensen went to explain to France24 that, “One person tweeted I said that word and the room went silent. The room did not go silent. There was no context given, and that’s regrettable. It’s a serious thing to throw around. To accuse someone of being racist without giving context of what they were talking about, that’s not only unfair to me but it’s also damaging to social discourse. As the people who were in the room know, the context in which I used the word, which is shocking to people still, especially coming from a white person, it was to talk about the need for each generation to keep working. It does not disappear. We always have to be wary of it. That’s what I was talking about.”