Simu Liu Offers Explanation for Acting with Mark Wahlberg After Calling Out His 1988 Assault

Zack Sharf
·2 min read

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star Simu Liu issued a defense on social media regarding his upcoming role opposite Mark Wahlberg in “Arthur the King.” Liu’s casting was announced last week, after which he deleted old Twitter posts in which he criticized Wahlberg for a 1988 incident in which he was convicted for assaulting two Vietnamese men. Fans branded Liu a hypocrite for signing on to work with Wahlberg, to which Liu explained his reasons for doing so in an Instagram post.

“I deleted a couple of tweets I made regarding the past actions of one of my costars as a gesture of professionalism and to open to door to progressive conversations and (hopefully) positive change,” Liu wrote. “Obviously it’d be pretty weird to go to work with that tweet still up. I meant what I said in the moment; I was very angry hearing about what happened. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s room to grow and work together to find an opportunity to educate and do some good, which I’m excited to do in addition to shooting the movie. Progressive discussion will lead to dialogue, and dialogue will lead to action.”

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Liu noted earlier in his statement that he did not want to pass up the role in “Arthur the King” as he’s “playing a character that is undoubtedly a positive representation of an Asian man,” adding, “I signed on to ‘Arthur the King’ because I absolutely adored the script, which tells the beautiful story of how a dog changed the lives of four adventure racers in the forests of Ecuador. Especially having been a dog dad until last year, it hit me straight in the feels. I was and am very passionate about bringing this story to the screen.”

Liu’s since-deleted 2018 post about Wahlberg was a reaction to Wahlberg requesting a pardon in 2014 for the 1988 crime. The “Shang-Chi” actor posted at the time, “Let me get this straight, Mark Wahlberg beat a helpless Vietnamese man with a stick until he passed out when he was 16, and is attempting to get the courts to grant him an official pardon on the basis that he’s ‘turned his life around’?”

Wahlberg pled guilty to felony assault at age 16 because of the assaults and was sentenced to two years in jail. The actor only served 45 days before being released and has repeatedly apologized for the incident over the years.

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