In this line of business you hear some pretty wild and uninformed statements from celebrities. I usually sit on the ol’ fence and try to imagine what it would be like if everything I said became quotable and not judge too harshly. But the most recent comment attributed to actor Mark Wahlberg has blown my mind.
In a quote from a recent article for Men’s Journal, Wahlberg responded to the following when he was asked about being scheduled for Flight 93 that was heroically overtaken by passengers and crash landed in a field in Pennsylvania on 9/11. This was his response:
“If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did. There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, ‘OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry.’”
Yes. Wahlberg just insinuated that he not only would have done what the brave passengers who stood up to their hijackers on that fateful flight were unable to do and take control of the plane but that he would have also managed to land the aircraft safely. Look, I get the idea of being the man and saying that you will be ready to kick some a** if the time comes but this was WAY out of line.
Deena Burnett-Bailey, whose husband Thomas Burnett phoned her from that fateful flight telling her, “I know we’re going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it.” responded to Wahlberg’s statement with the following:
“Does Mark Wahlberg have a pilot’s license? Then I think hindsight is 20/20 and it’s insignificant to say what you would have done if you weren’t there. The plan for Flight 93 was foiled by heroes. For him to speculate that his presence on board could have stopped everything is silly and disrespectful. Sounds like someone is grandstanding.”
Wahlberg hasn’t responded yet but I am hoping for his sake that the quote was somehow taken out of context. Having read it patiently several times, however, I don’t think that’s likely. On the cover above for the mag it reads, “Mark Wahlberg: How a street-fighting kid became a master of self-discipline.” A master of self-discipline? Really!?!?!?!?!!?
Update: Mark is on the public relations defensive already. He told TMZ:
“To speculate about such a situation is ridiculous to begin with. I deeply apologize to the families of the victims that my answer came off as insensitive, it was certainly not my intention.”