The Daily Show host Trevor Noah has come to the defence of actor Liam Neeson, following recent controversial comments given to The Independent.
The 66-year-old Taken star said in an interview that he had once sought racist revenge by 'roaming the streets with a cosh' after learning that his friend had been raped by a black man.
The comments had sparked widespread criticism and debate, with some condeming him and others offering their support.
Noah is the most recent notable individual to step forward and give Neeson credit for what he said, calling it a powerful admission.
In a clip released on The Daily Show's Twitter account, the South African host said.
I think it’s really difficult, because in many ways it feels like an onslaught. I can understand, for any black person out there to be like, this s*** never seems to end. You think you get past the age of lynching and then there’s still blackface in 2019.
You hear stories everyday about black people being persecuted because of the colour of their skin. 'Black Lives Matter' exists has a hashtag because of that very reason.
I do think that most of the Liam Neeson story is treated the way it is because of the way he said it. I think if Liam Neeson would have told that story on Oprah and there was a conversation, we would have seen it as a person admitting to a time in their life where they allowed their anger and hatred to fester into racism that they were ashamed of.
It was Liam Neeson talking about a revenge movie, then all of sudden, in the middle of it he goes 'I know what it's like a friend of mine got raped. I asked her who did it? She said she doesn't know. She just said it was a black guy and I went out into the streets hoping that some 'black bastard' would step out and start something with me so I could kill him.'
I'll be honest, I think people take this story a little more seriously because it's Liam Neeson because people see him as the Taken guy. If Tom Hanks said the same thing, we’d all be like, ‘Really, Tom Hanks?’ I think part of it is like that. It has a certain weight if it wasn't for Liam Neeson.
I do think it was a powerful admission, though. I hope he and people who hear the story understand the gravity of what he’s saying and that is: ‘If you are not careful, you can have inside of you a hatred that is encouraged or grown by the society that you live in. And you don’t even realise how disgusting that idea is.'
I think it was cool that he asked for help afterwards. I think it was cool that no one bossed him, he volunteered the information. I think it was great that he was ashamed. For me, that's the world I want to live it. I want to live in a world where a person who said something like that is ashamed of it and they are telling it to you and you aren't catching them out.
I saw him afterwards saying 'I'm not racist at all.' I understand why you would say that but it is racist. The fact that you think that you could just go and kill a black man, any black man for what a black might have done is a form of racism because you are going 'the whole race should be condemned.' So, you should be able to accept that 'yes, I was thinking a racist thought' but a lot of the time I think people are afraid to admit that they had racist thoughts because then society says you are 'racist forever' and that's it, so, there's no value in atoning, I guess.
And he keeps giving more interviews, making it worse. The things that he says, I'm like 'your particular set of skills doesn't include, shutting the f**k up.'
Noah is far from the first famous face to call for a more reasonable reaction to Neeson's comments.
His Widows co-star Michelle Rodriguez said that he couldn't be racist because of how he kissed Viola Davis in said film, Whoopi Goldberg said that he wasn't a 'bigot', while Terry Crews said that Neeson was 'describing his fork in the road'.