Corporate empires are built through strategic migrations into natural adjacencies. No one knows this better than Mark Wahlberg, the former Funky Bunch proprietor who has since extended his footprint into acting, television production, fast-casual dining, and soon, if he has his druthers, law enforcement.
According to TMZ, that’s the end game of Wahlberg’s recent filings with the Massachusetts Parole Board seeking the expungement of his felony assault conviction, stemming from a 1988 incident in which a 16-year-old Wahlberg attacked two Vietnamese men, leaving one partially blind. Wahlberg has since cleaned up his act and is now the sort of agreeable fellow who aggressively sends his regards to your mother, but the felony conviction remains on his record, precluding him from becoming a police reservist in Los Angeles.
Wahlberg’s interest in law enforcement comes as no surprise given his multiple acting roles playing cops in The Departed and The Other Guys, and as a rage-prone stalker in Fear, which demonstrates Wahlberg’s holistic interest in criminal psychology. TMZ says Wahlberg is also shopping a reality show about port officers called Port Of L.A., so perhaps interest in police work is communicable .
Still, the optics of Wahlberg’s filing could certainly be better, given the current zeitgeist around unchecked police authority and white privilege. There’s absolutely nothing to suggest Wahlberg’s sudden interest in police work should be interpreted as his general support of law enforcement within the context of recent news events. But there is a certain tone-deafness in Wahlberg requesting the expungement of two violent assaults—arguably hate crimes—so he can serve as a police officer as the nation is processing the police killings of unarmed black men for alleged offenses such as shoplifting and tax code violation, the type of petty offenses that typically warrant expungement.