Mark Wahlberg wants to be a role model & his assault victim speaks

Mark Wahlberg

These are photos of Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham The Gambler, which is a remake of the classic 1974 movie starring James Caan. Nobody’s talking about the movie. It’s all about Mark Wahlberg and his desired pardon. Was that intentional? I kept wondering about that last week. Mark should have known that his petition would leak around the same time he needed to promote this film. Critics are underwhelmed by it. That’s the worst kind of movie. You can’t love it or hate it, and Variety reveals that it’s simply a pointless remake: “stylish but disappointingly glib.” So I can buy that Wahlberg is coordinating his crusade for rich man justice to give this film a boost.

Mark’s victim has spoken, by the way. I’ll get to that in a moment. When news of Mark’s petition surfaced, I assumed this was another one of his bucket list items. Simply a feather in the Wahlberg cap after earning many millions of dollars for Entourage and flashy action movies. There was a followup story about how Mark wanted the pardon so he could join the LAPD as a reservist. Without a pardon, he can’t legally operate a gun. Anyway. Mark has done a crap ton of red carpet interviews about why he badly wants that pardon:

To the NY Daily News: “I’ve worked extremely hard for the last 27 years since I woke up sober and realized the horrible mistakes I had made and the horrible pain I had caused so many people Every single day I try to better myself as a person. This is not something I just decided to do overnight, two years later, well I’m a big celebrity so I should feel like I can do whatever I want. No, I’ve worked really hard to be a better person and to be a good influence on kids growing up in situations like mine.

Why he wants a pardon now: “Everyone has an opinion and has a reason why they think I’m doing it. I’ve been working very hard to correct a lot of mistakes that I made since the day that I woke up and realized, ‘You know what? I need to be a leader instead of a follower.”

He’s not asking for special treatment:“In no way shape or form was I trying to use my celebrity or success to say, ‘Well, I feel entitled to get this because of the fame and fortune.’ Every day I wake up trying to be the best person I can be. I’ve worked really hard to be a positive influence for kids growing up in communities like mine who don’t really have a chance, and try to provide an opportunity for them to be more successful and that’s why I’m doing it.”

If the pardon isn’t granted: “Whether it happens or not, it won’t change how hard I’ve worked at becoming a better person. I will continue to do that whether the pardon is granted or not.”

[From NY Daily News, Boston Herald & USA Today]

The role model thing is kind of hilarious. I am pretty sure that troubled youth aren’t watching the internet with baited breath, waiting to see if Mark Wahlberg received his silly pardon.

There is a wrinkle to this story. There’s no question that Mark’s assault was racially motivated. The Smoking Gun has always had Marky Mark’s rap sheet available. During this particular crime, Mark smashed a large wooden stick over Thanh Lam’s head after calling him “Vietnam f***ing sh*t.” This is all widely available common knowledge. But…

The Mail has spoken with Johnny Trinh (the other victim of that evening) in an exclusive interview. The story all along was that Wahlberg punched Trinh in the eye and blinded him. Trinh now says Mark did not blind him. He was already blinded in one eye during the Vietnam War. Trinh believes Mark should be pardoned because “He was young and reckless. He should not have the crime hanging over him any longer.” Mark’s victim has already pardoned him in his mind. Maybe that’s what matters most, but I’m not saying Marky Mark deserves a pardon. Thoughts?

Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg

Photos courtesy of WENN

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82 Responses to “Mark Wahlberg wants to be a role model & his assault victim speaks”

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  1. ElleRob says:

    Is it wrong that I feel that someone was bought off after the bad PR that followed the initial story about the pardon and Wahlberg having done nothing for the victim?

    • Macey says:

      Right or wrong I was thinking the same thing.

    • Roma says:

      A big portion of this crime has revolved around Mark not making any effort to apologize or offer restitution to the victim. My thoughts are that Mark didn’t want to have to back down from his stance of not needing to, so maybe some money was quietly exchanged for the victim to come forward.

      • ElleRob says:


        Just for semantics, the crime and Wahlberg’s failure to offer any sort of restitution are two different things. The point is Wahlberg wants a pardon because he’s claiming he changed and atoned for his mistakes, yet he’s never sought atonement from the individual he injured.

        And correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t the victim’s statement changed compared to the interview from a few years ago?

      • Jayna says:

        ElleRob, he never gave an interview before. He said he never knew it was Walhberg before the Daily Mail tracked him down and contacted him and didn’t even know Walhberg is an actor. This is the first anybody has heard from this victim.

      • Roma says:


        I agree that the crime and restitution are two separate things (and I think I just typed quickly), however in the case of Wahlberg it’s a public reaction thing. To ask to be pardoned for the crime when he has stated over and over that he does not need to reach out to his victims rubs people the wrong way.

        And there is no doubt about Wahlberg’s history of racially motivated violence. As L notes below, there were two different victims that night. Also, as the Smoking Gun notes it’s not like he denied his actions – he boasted to the police that he split Lam’s head open.

        And… he tormented black schoolchildren on multiple occasions.

        As for his pardon – not up to me. But I do side eye a man who blames his actions on his rough upbringing, but after he’s made it can’t be bothered to apologize (let alone offer restitution) to his victims.

      • ElleRob says:


        Absolutely. There’s something icky about “I don’t have to apologize but you should forgive me.”

        I hadn’t heard about the schoolchildren. Ugh.

    • L says:

      Wahlberg beat two people that night: Thanh Lam and Hoa Trinh. The second man that he attacked a few hours later, Hoa Thinh is the one that he blinded. That’s in the Smoking gun report.

      • Melanie says:

        Agree with what L says. This isn’t the victim he blinded. The DM article is misleading, as usual.

      • Jayna says:

        Melanie, Hoa Trinh, who L said is the one he blinded, is the man who gave DM the interview and said he wasn’t blinded by him, but was already blind, so how is the DM report misleading?

    • tarheel says:

      Nope, I thought the same thing, especially since this is VERY different from anything else the victim has said before.

    • Sara says:


  2. BooBooLaRue says:

    I can’t pardon him for being a douche canoe.

  3. Jaderu says:

    I don’t know. I still can’t get past him saying he doesn’t have to apologize in person. That he’s forgiven himself and that’s enough.
    If I wanted to make amends for something, I don’t think I could do it without knowing that the person I had wronged had forgiven me. Said it to me personally. I’m over analyzing. He just doesn’t seem sincere.

    • Dani2 says:

      Yeah, I can’t get past that either, he’s such an insufferable twit.

    • littlestar says:

      You’re not overanalyzing at all. This guy has no remorse. To say he forgives himself? How deluded and full of himself can he be? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – Mark Wahlberg is DUMB DUMB DUMB.

    • Hawkeye says:

      This is a feature, not a bug, of a system that allows certain people to spray on a halo and say he’s sowwy. As far as I’m concerned, legally and procedurally, everyone including him has the right to seek pardons for past crimes and I have no quibble with that. What takes me from comatose to nucular is the arrogant proclamation that he can morally absolve himself of his crimes just because he feels like it’s time.

      • LadySlippers says:



        IF and WHEN he apologises to all the individuals *in person* and has done several years of volunteer work *directly related* to his crimes, then I think restitution and a pardon might be considered. But not before. And I’ll give him kudos for sobering up but that’s only one step in the forgiveness process.

        PS: All his victims have to willingly and freely accept his apologies and both the victims and the public need to see a change in him in order for a pardon to be considered.

        PPS: If it’s true that he’s asking for a pardon for selfish reasons or personal gain, monetary or otherwise, it voids all the conditions above.

        (This would be my terms for any crime)

    • Katija says:

      I’m baffled as to why he WON’T. He could pay to have the victims flown to some five-star vacation with their families, give them the time of their lives – for those thinking, “that’s sleazy! You can’t buy someone’s forgiveness like that!… I’m thinking as a PR person here – then meet them in a hotel meeting room, stage a few photos where he’s making a concerned face, sell them to People Magazine, portrait cover with the headline “MARK WAHLBERG: ROAD TO FORGIVENESS”, he wins the public back.

      I would bet my left friggin’ leg that it has nothing to do with the victims’ unwillingness – they spoke to the press for Chrissake – and more to do with doucheboy’s pride. A thug til the very end.

    • Lauraq says:

      It’s weird to me that he doesn’t think he has to apologize because he’s a Christian…While the Bible does say if you’re truly repentant you will be forgiven (by God) it also says that if you’re working and you remember someone has a reason to be upset with you, you should drop everything you’re doing to go make amends. Even if you’re in the middle of your sacrifice, it says. So I tend to think God is pretty pro-apology. Maybe he thinks he doesn’t have to read the Bible because he’s a Christian?

  4. I still don’t get why he wants a pardon–even if he didn’t blind the guy….he still committed a hate crime. It was him. He did it. You don’t get a pardon for a crime that is still illegal to this day. It’s not like he was arrested for being gay, and got put on the sex offender list, and now he wants that off his record so he can work with kids or something….

    • Kiddo says:

      Contrary to his main argument, to me, there is too much privilege wrapped up in this request for a pardon. So many people have their lives limited by a past that they will never be able to erase. Maybe he should set up a foundation for those people, first, to expunge records from long ago, where they are unable to get jobs and survive.

    • Sonya says:

      There is this place between youth and adulthood where life is strange. You can’t possibly understand the bigness of it all – but you certainly can screw it up for yourself. Thing is – he did this. It makes it hard for his business? That sucks, but HE did this. There are so many people dealing with the choices and actions of their youth, I am confused on why he should get to just erase it. I don’t understand.
      I have a family member who got a DUI, he was wasted when he was pulled over. I was beyond livid with him, but his parents hired a lawyer who was connected and got it set up that it would disappear if he stayed out of trouble. Then they were upset when he got into new trouble, “Now it’s going to hang over him and if he gets another DUI he will lose his license. How will he drive without it? How will he work?” WHAT? What about the family he damages if he get wasted and drives and hits someone?
      It sucks to make choices you are still dealing with 5, 10, 15 years down the line but that is life and when those choices include harming someone else, could have killed someone or does kill someone how can you then whine about it making your life harder. Gross.

    • ninks says:

      I read this on tumblr so take it with a pinch of salt; but I’ve heard that he wants to expand his restaurant chain/franchise to California but can’t get a liquor licence with a criminal record and that’s why he needs a pardon. The story here is that he wants a firearm permit. If either or both are true, then wanting the pardon had nothing to do with being a good time model, it’s solely to serve his own self interest.

      • Roma says:

        I’ve read that also. It happens in various states (and in Canada) – if any of the owners have a record, they will be denied for a liquour license.

      • Kiddo says:

        I think you put your finger on what bothers me about it. He is being completely disingenuous about the reason for seeking a pardon. If he is actually going for one to procure liquor licenses, and he is being limited because of his past, then he should just say THAT. He can add in that he’s turned his life around, helped kids and whatnot, but it’s the con, itself, written into the request that is off-putting. How much of a different person are you if you are spinning BS motivation?

        You can still be a role model without a pardon.

    • Tammy says:

      People receive pardons and have their records expunged of crimes that were committed years ago depending on the crime and the state. Where I live, if you were convicted of either a 3rd or 4th degree crime, if it wasn’t a violent crime or dealing, if it’s only one crime and it’s over 10 years ago, you can request to have your record expunged. You have to demonstrate quite a bit to get the record expunged but it can happen. There is no question of whether they committed the crime or not and that shouldn’t even be a part of the equation.

      You have to look at the totality of the circumstances, just because a crime was committed shouldn’t preclude a pardon. I think what should be looked at is the type of crime committed, the age at which it was committed, and what they have done since the conviction. In my state, a record for a violent crime, of any degree, would never be expunged. There’s a reason why violent crimes have enhanced penalties. Apology or not, he should not receive a pardon.

  5. Talie says:

    Sometimes these things are in place to remind us of who we were. Maybe he is not meant to carry a gun. Maybe fate has a reason. Challenging your fate could induce strange consequences.

  6. kibbles says:

    I still think that Wahlberg has more money than he will ever need in this lifetime, so he should give some of it to his victim as a goodwill gesture. Set up a college fund if the man has kids, give him enough money to retire comfortably, buy him a new house. This would simply be pocket change for Wahlberg and would not affect his lifestyle whatsoever. If Wahlberg did this I would reluctantly agree that he has done enough to deserve a pardon.

  7. minx says:

    He does nothing for me. He is so average looking with, I’m sorry, beady eyes and bad skin. He looks like he works at Pep Boys.

    • littlestar says:

      I used to think he was hot during the Planet of the Apes era :S. Now I see an unattractive man made even more unattractive by his entitled attitude.

  8. So says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me if he bought off the victim. Wahlberg is a slime ball & give him time, he will be a bigger monster than Mel Gibson. I refuse to put money in this guys pockets.

  9. OhDear says:

    Nope, no pardon. Marky Mark’s not contrite about it – he doesn’t even acknowledge the full extent of the crime in his pardon application.

  10. Tippy says:

    Massachusetts recently elected a Republican Governor. Wahlberg probably feels that his best chance for pardon will be with the current Democrat administration.

    The news is reporting that Wahlberg plans to expand his Wahlburgers restaurant to 300 franchises nationwide and that is the real reason he is seeking a pardon.

    • So says:

      Recently he said he wants to be a cop that’s why he wants it gone from his records.

      • Tippy says:

        Wahlberg could have 100 different reasons for wanting his felony record cleared, but I seriously doubt that being a role model crime fighter for the LAPD is high on that list.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      @Tippy, it is highly unlikely that the board that reviews and recommends pardons to the governor would have completed its review before Governor Patrick leaves office in three weeks. And MA Republican governors have granted plenty of pardons.

    • Have no lipservice please says:

      Does donating money to a political party help with a pardon?

  11. Alec says:

    Did Mark ever personally apologize to Lam? Did he reimburse him for medical costs? Does contrition mean anything to him? He is Catholic right?

  12. skipper says:

    If he gets a pardon then they better start passing out pardons all over the country as soon as they sign off on Marky Mark’s. You shouldn’t be able to sign off on one for no good reason w/o doing the rest. That would look great for our justice system wouldn’t it?

  13. Merritt says:

    I don’t think he should get a pardon. People should live with what they have done, not get it taken off their record. Wahlberg has thrived despite his own hateful actions.

  14. scout says:

    Should face consequences for his actions, I think.

  15. HK9 says:

    If you have too much pride to apologize to the actual person that you hurt on purpose, you need to work on your own pride, rather than public perception.

  16. Sonya says:

    This comment was actually a reply that wound up in the wrong place. sorry. 🙁

  17. Lama Bean says:

    I don’t pardon him for that hairstyle. The movie filming is over, player. Come back to this decade. We don’t miss you, but we will take you back regardless.

  18. anne_000 says:

    DM also says that there were two Vietnamese victims. One that MW beat in the head until he became unconscious. The second one was whom MW tried to get help from to hide from the cops and then punched in the face after the patrol car passed by.

    The second one was the one who was blind in one eye. He’s said that he didn’t know that it was this famous MW that assaulted him.

    MW never met him face-to-face to apologize.

    So basically, MW is an **********. He went for a pardon even though he didn’t apologize to his victims face-to-face. Why? Probably because his racist ego couldn’t bring himself to apologize to his non-white victims. Just shows he’s not really sorry. He wants a pardon to enlarge his ego. It’s all improving his image but with as little owning the blame.

    I’m thinking that he thinks it’s the Vietnamese guys fault for existing anywhere near him and for him getting into trouble. He needs to take 100% ownership of all the fault for his own actions. But again, there’s that pesky ego that racists have…

    • ElleRob says:

      I wonder if Wahlberg’s people realized one of the offshoots of the pardon would be putting the crime in the public spotlight. I’ve been surprised by how many people didn’t know the details of Wahlberg’s criminal history – most people just assumed it was more “normal” delinquency – and are now saying they won’t support his movies, etc.

    • Zigggy says:

      Yes, that’s what I thought- that the second man he assaulted was the one who was blinded. What an *sshole.

    • anne_000 says:

      I read on BBC just now that the reasons he wanted a pardon was to get a liquor license and to have the ability to be a parole or probation officer if he wanted to.

      That plus his never looking for his victims to apologize to them makes him seem even worse a person.

      Funny how the DM were able to find the victim with the blind eye even though they weren’t searching for him for the decades since MW’s crime took place. MW never wanted to search for him, obviously.

  19. MP says:

    Can you just wake up one morning and not be a racist anymore? Or did you during your sober moment realize that openly acting like one will hurt your future plans so you decided to hide it better? Not wanting to meet the victim face to face to apologize tells me there’s still some issues there.

  20. Ginger says:

    Even if he didn’t blind this victim, he is still guilty of the crime he did time for. That will never change. And I still say if he is really and truly sober and is doing a 12 step program (I’m not sure if he is) part of that is making amends. He needs to ask for a pardon from his VICTIMS first before he asks the legal system. Otherwise I’m not going to give him any credit other than he did the time. And if he is seeking to be a part of the LAPD as is rumored then I REALLY don’t want him to get the pardon! The thought of someone like him brandishing authority and a weapon is scary to me. He is suffering from Hollywood delusion syndrome. And I don’t think the LAPD really want’s that kind of association or publicity given recent events. I hope it’s just because he wants the concessionaire license. As for reforming himself, it that’s true then good for him. But do it because you want to be a better person not for the glory.

  21. steff says:

    People are so judgmental, I am disgusted by what he did but people change. Plus if the victim feels he deserves an opinion then that’s good enough, for me his opinion is the only one who matters.

    • GByeGirl says:

      What about the rest of his victims? What about the fact that Marky Mark has downplayed the significance and severity of his crimes? That doesn’t tell me that people change. That tells me that he’s an opportunistic liar.

      • LTG says:

        Exactly. There are several victims of different races and circumstances. He was the violent aggressor in all of them.

  22. Gal says:

    I think the only reason he wants (needs) the pardon is to expand his restaurant chain. It was a hate crime, a horrible, horrible hate crime. It was a mistake, but unfortunately a mistake he should have to live with. Just because he has money should not give him a free pass. He should have apologized sincerely a long time ago and paid restitution to these men with bags of cash.

    • pleaseicu says:

      I don’t even think it was a mistake. Not with his criminal history before and after the beatings of the two Vietnamese men.

      He and two other friends had the Attorney General’s office in Massachusetts file for and receive a civil restraining order against them for following, throwing rocks at and hollering the n-word at three black children. Mark violated that order and was convicted of criminal contempt of court because he, again, harassed, yelled racial slurs, and threw rocks at one of the children while the little boy was with his teacher and classmates and rocks hit two children in the head.

      He was also sued civilly for beating another man so bad he fractured his jaw and had to have it wired shut.

      Given his history of racially motivated violent crime and that he did zero jail time for any of his crimes IIRC and his pretty clear lack of remorse or atonement for what he did, I hope he doesn’t receive a pardon. If that means he can’t expand into California or Canada or wherever because of his felony violent history, well, too bad, live with that consequence. His victims have to live with consequences of what he did to them and don’t get a pardon from the governor for the violence and hate he heaped on them.

  23. Jayna says:

    Wahlberg was a juvenile thug who turned his life around. I have no opinion one way or the other about a pardon. A lot of people apply for pardons to governors every year.

    But what he did at 16 and to be living such a low, violent, drug-addicted life and to turn it around I commend him for, just like I do all the other thugs who change. A pardon? I don’t know one way or the other and don’t really care if he does or doesn’t get it. Not just celebrity, but he might have a chance because he was 16 at the time.

    • Kelly says:

      Jayna, similar thoughts, as far as the young thug part. Heaven help us all if we were judged all of our adult lives by what we did at 16. I believe it is possible to have committed a crime this horrific, and grow and change and be honestly sorry now at this point in his life. People can change. If it was me, I would probably be involved in raising awareness about racially motivated hate crime, but he can certainly be permitted to live his remorse in the way he chooses.

    • NorthernGirl_20 says:

      +1 I find people are being too harsh .. What he did was terrible, it was – he paid his time .. he was 16!!! People do grow up and change – it happens.

      • LadySlippers says:


        But what he did was beyond harsh. He severely beat several men and all his crimes are racially charged. That’s more to do with thought processes and little to do with age or mind altering substances. Top that off with no restitution/no apologies all adds up to someone who is finding fault with everyone else but the man in the mirror.

    • Have no lipservice please says:

      I would feel better about that pardon if Wahlberg promised to not go and carry a gun and if he promised to NOT join the LAPD as a reservist. There has been enough racially biased police action recently.

  24. ella says:

    F*ck this ugly little elf. I won’t be seeing any movie he’s in. He is and has been in a position to positively affect the life of his victim and attempt to make amends, and he hasn’t done so. He just wants to clear his name so he can make even more $$$.

  25. Madly says:

    It has been years and people change. Why not let him have his pardon and let it go?

    • LadySlippers says:


      Because there’s no evidence he’s truly sorry or has made restitution for the crimes he’s committed. See my above statements for further clarification.

  26. moot says:

    Can we all stop letting Marky Mark be a movie star? He’s yuck all around, on-screen and off. Stop feeding the entitled egotist!

  27. Cindy says:

    Funky Bunch is so blinded by his big ego, he doesn’t see that this pardon request only shines light on his violent, unprovoked, racist crimes. Marky mark’s not sorry. If he was he would show remorse and restitution towards his actual victims, face to face. Not try to turn his violent past into some self-congradulatory, “I am a role model” campaign. Creep.

  28. Izzy says:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of people pointing out that he’s trying to bring his Whalburgers restaraunt to California, but that he can’t legally sell alcohol in that state unless he gets this pardon.

    I don’t think this about growth or being a role model or being sorry or anything like that, I think this is all about financial gain.

  29. Odessa says:

    What bothers me is his own lack of penance. As a catholic he may want to think about living with the consequences and realizing he deserves those consequences. It doesn’t matter if the victim forgives him or not, it’s the fact that he thinks he has done enough to justify getting out of consequences. There are things I’ve done in life that have been really stupid, and I live with the consequences from those decisions. As a teacher I often think that There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of shame. People should be ashamed of what they have done and people should live with the consequences.

    • LadySlippers says:


      I’m going to respecffully disagree with you. Guilt can be constructive whereas shame is destructive. I’d check out Dr Brene Brown for more information (she’s a shame researcher). She has both books and TED Talks too and so far I have found them to be fantastic. 😊

      However, I don’t think Mark feels either guilt OR shame. Nor do I think he feels contrition. It sounds a bit like he’s wants forgiveness just so he can feel better about himself which isn’t IMO what a forgiveness or a pardon should be about.

      For more info:

      • Have no lipservice please says:

        @ LadySlippers

        I am going to respectfully disagree with you. Feeling shame is very inconvenient so in order to get rid of that many people start thinking about how to … and then make up for whatever they did. Guilt is in there somewhere, too.
        It depends on how you deal with it.

        From my personal experience I can say that individuals who don’t seem to feel shame are usually VERY unpleasant people who usually can’t be bothered to excuse for anything.

  30. db says:

    I just don’t like Wahlberg, although I’ve enjoyed a surprising number of movies he was in (3 Kings is one). I kind of feel that if he were sincere, if he was a real mensch now, and he’s supposedly working to inspire kids with his example — let the record stand. Expunging the record is making it as though it never happened, its wiped from any public record.

    Either his request will be granted or it wont, but if it were up to me the answer would be No.

  31. Cindy says:

    Think how insufferable he will be if he gets his pardon:(

  32. Sister Carrie says:

    He’s despicable.

    Now, on to the superficial–his wife in that picture. Please step away from the eyebrow pencil. It is not your friend. Please burn that shirt. I’m sure it cost a bajillion dollars, but it is severely unattractive. Those pants . . . just say no.

  33. Noone says:

    He shows himself to be an arrogant entitled git of a man, I say live with your mistakes just like ordinary folk have to.

  34. tarheel says:

    He has stated publicly he FEELS NO REMORSE, and this doesn’t have to apologize. wtf

    Also, he doesn’t want to be a reserve cop, he wants a liquor license for his restaurant.

    He’s now on my boycott list.

  35. Have no lipservice please says:

    No excuse to his victim?
    No financial aid for his victim?

    Wanting to join the LAPD as a reservist? Many African American teenagers would like to join the police force but they never make it there due to their criminal record which is often the result of racially motivated judgement = white Americans wouldn’t get one for these things.

    Wanting to carry a gun? I am against that. He keeps displaying bad judgement.

  36. Estelle says:

    Absolutely no reason for the Governor of Mass to pardon him. Nothing to gain and much to lose.