Liam Neeson Facing Backlash After Racist Interview
Liam Neeson says he's ashamed to admit he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped.
The Irish actor said he walked the streets armed with a weapon hoping he would be approached by someone so that he could kill them.
Neeson, who will soon be seen in the film Cold Pursuit, was discussing how his character turns to anger when he told UK national newspaper the Independent: "There's something primal - God forbid you've ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions. I'll tell you a story. This is true."
He said the rape happened some time ago and he found out about it after he came back from a trip abroad.
He said of his friend: "She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way.
"But my immediate reaction was... I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.
"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody - I'm ashamed to say that - and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some black bastard would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him."
Liam Neeson is definitely a reminder that there are folks who walk around hoping to provoke Black people so they can kill us.— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) February 4, 2019
A lot of them are in law enforcement and politics.
Liam Neeson being ready to take any Black life over what one person allegedly did just shows how meaningless and inconsequential black lives are to some.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) February 4, 2019
Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understating that there may not be repercussions.
The craziest thing about the Liam neeson story is that he attributed the rape to the assailant’s race, not the gender. Therefore his revenge needed to be taken out on blackness, not male-ness. THIS simple fact is why it’s racist. And these are EASY dots to connect.— J’ffrey, father of J’richo (@jpnt17) February 4, 2019
Neeson called his reaction "horrible," saying it taught him a lesson about the "primal need" for revenge.
"It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that.
"I come from a society - I grew up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles - and, you know, I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland's proof of that.
"All this stuff that's happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand."
Representatives for Neeson and film studio Lionsgate have been contacted for comment.