Lord of the Rings actor Viggo Mortensen has apologised after using the N-word during a recent press conference.
The Oscar-nominated star dropped the racial epithet at a press conference in Los Angeles which followed a screening of his new movie, Green Book.
As he discussed the racial context of the Oscar-tipped movie, Mortensen said: “For instance, no one says n***** anymore”.
Posting on Twitter, Hollywood director Dick Schulz wrote: “Was at a screening for #GreenBook—the movie is amazing, but at the Q&A after Viggo Mortensen just dropped the N Word and the oxygen immediately left the room.”
Mortensen has subsequently apologised in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, explaining that he intended for his comments to cast a light on racism in America.
“In making the point that many people casually used the ‘N’ word at the time in which the movie’s story takes place, in 1962, I used the full word”, he explained.
“Although my intention was to speak strongly against racism, I have no right to even imagine the hurt that is caused by hearing that word in any context, especially from a white man.”
— Dick W. Schulz (@DickSchulz) November 8, 2018
Mortensen added: “I do not use the word in private or in public. I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again
“One of the reasons I accepted the challenge of working on Peter Farrelly’s movie Green Book was to expose ignorance and prejudice, in the hope that our movie’s story might help in some way to change people’s views and feelings regarding racial issues. It is a beautiful, profound movie story that I am very proud to be a part of.”
The film is set for release later this month and follows the real life story of Tony Lip (Mortensen), a chauffeur who drove classical pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) through America’s Deep South at the height of the segregation era.