*Hollywood icon Liam Neeson is at the center of a firestorm after admitting in an interview that he once wanted to commit a racially-charged murder after a family member revealed she was raped by a Black male.
While promoting his new film “Cold Pursuit” during an interview with The Independent, the 66-year-old actor, best known as the vengeful father in the “Taken” franchise, recalled the raped that occurred many years ago and how “primal” he felt following the assault.
“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said. “But my immediate reaction was- I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person.”
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Who among us has not casually admitted during an interview that they nearly went on a racist murder spree https://t.co/CwUGDdv7Tt
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) February 4, 2019
Neeson described waiting outside of pubs with a “cosh” hoping a “black bastard” would pop off and start an altercation so he could kill him.
“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 [in air quotes] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could… kill him,” he continued. “It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that. She would say, ‘Where are you going?’ and I would say, ‘I’m just going out for a walk.’ You know? ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘No no, nothing’s wrong.’”
He then expressed remorse for how hateful the rape made him feel.
“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid,” Neeson said. “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f–k are you doing,’ you know?”
His admission has rocked social media, with many folks declaring that he’s a racist while others are coming to the actor’s defense.
User @DawnJayneWest wrote: “So No-one out there has ever been so angry or grieving they have acted out of character? #LiamNeeson was speaking honestly and is being slated for it. So much for freedom of speech! Yes, in your lifetime you will hear things you don’t like, that’s life!”
User @2040Damian added: “Things to consider when judging #LiamNeeson 1. The environment in which he grew up (heavily racist at that time) 2. He’s acknowledging how wrong his feelings were & has admitted shame over them 3. He’s showing how base emotions take over when we lose sense of rationality.”
Question Everything noted: “Change the #LiamNeeson headline to ‘Pakistani Muslim admits searching for white man to kill’ and then let’s see if the justification from idiots is the same.”
@jamEsJamalBlk said: “To me #LiamNeeson just proved or showed how white supremacy works in society. How he, an actor, can openly admit to possibly killing any random black-man speaks volume about the type of person he actual is. A racist. Not a peep from Hollywood community is even more telling.”
Frederick Joseph wrote: “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. Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understating that there may not be repercussions.”
User @SaltySardine11 commented: “Hey #LiamNeeson you know who raped your friend? A man Maybe you should remember that next time you make millions from movies that re-enforce toxic masculinity instead of being a racist f*ck”
And @PriyamvadaGopal pointed out: On #LiamNeeson confessional & those praising him for being ‘honest’: can you imagine black or Muslim man ‘confessing’ he had violent gendered or raced fantasies & being lauded for it?
Many agreed with Elizabeth Pears who said: “Well, I’ve seen it all now. Liam Neeson admitted to going around trying to find a black person to kill because someone he was close to got raped by a black person, and the journalist spoke to a psychologist to help contextualise his racism and included it in the article? WILD.”
Well, I’ve seen it all now. Liam Neeson admitted to going around trying to find a black person to kill because someone he was close to got raped by a black person, and the journalist spoke to a psychologist to help contextualise his racism and included it in the article? WILD.
— Elizabeth Pears (@BizPears) February 4, 2019
You can listen to audio from the interview via the player embed below:
— Tom Selway (@tomselsocial) February 5, 2019
It’s also worth noting that Liam Neeson had a different reaction when white males were accused of rape. You may recall when he sparked a backlash in 2018 when he said the sexual abuse allegations in the wake of the Me Too movement had turned into a “witch hunt.”
It is unclear if Neeson’s latest remarks will impact the release of “Cold Pursuit,” which hits theaters February 8. He has two other films scheduled to for released this year including “Men in Black: International.”