Kong director speaks out for first time after Saigon bar brawl

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He calls the men who hit him ‘thugs’ and says the incident will not change his ‘overwhelmingly positive opinion’ of Vietnam.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of the latest Kong movie, has finally broken his silence over a bar fight that he became involved in three weeks ago in Ho Chi Minh City.

Aside from a letter to the U.S. embassy immediately after the incident, in which he said “I was brutally and maliciously assaulted by a group of several men”, this is the first time he has publicly spoken about the event.

“I was severely injured and am writing this note after returning to the U.S. after spending 10 days in a Vietnamese hospital. I’ve chosen to remain silent up until now because I was focused on healing and allowing the Vietnamese authorities to properly investigate without intervention,” the director said on Facebook and Twitter on Thursday.

Police have been investigating the case based on camera footage from the XOXO club in District 1 to track down the people involved in the fight, which broke out at 2 a.m. on September 9 and sent Vogt-Roberts to hospital with a bleeding head.

Media reports earlier said he was punched in the face and had a glass bottle thrown at his head.

In his post, Vogt-Roberts said “police have released a statement saying it was not a bar fight but was an attack I played no role in instigating.”

“The men who instigated this attack are thugs who do not represent this consistently amazing country nor the souls of the people. Vietnam is a place in which I have always felt safe and I have full faith that the authorities bring this gang of thugs to justice sending a message that actions like these have consequences and people will be held accountable.”

“This gang’s foolish risk hurting the hard work millions of Vietnamese and foreigners do every day to build their individual business and the brand of the entire country,” he continued.

“An event like this is in no way indicative of Vietnam, and has not, will not, and cannot change my overwhelmingly positive opinion of the country. My personal goals as tourism ambassador remain the same and I will continue to bring opportunities to this country through film and otherwise,” he said.

The director was appointed Vietnam’s tourism ambassador, a title which will be renewed after three years, after his movie “Kong: Skull Island” hit Vietnamese theaters in March.

Many scenes in the movie were filmed in Vietnam’s northern province of Ninh Binh and the world-renowned Ha Long Bay, explaining why it was such a hit in the country, where it grossed VND150 billion ($6.6 million) in two weeks and became one of the biggest blockbusters of the year.

Thanks to the movie and his tourism ambassador title, Vogt-Roberts has earned himself a reputation among Vietnamese people, which is why this bar fight has repeatedly made headlines in Vietnam.

The news of the fracas had many people worried that it would damage Vietnam’s reputation in the eyes of foreigners, but it turns out they were worrying for no reason because the story was not picked up by any international news agencies.

So far, Vogt-Roberts’ comments have been the only source of news on the incident, and no further police reports or statements from the other side have been released. So it’s virtually impossible at this stage to pin down who initiated the fight.

For now, HCMC’s police department is still working on the case.

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