Liam Neeson has addressed criticism for his past comments in which he claimed he had looked around for a “black b*****d” to “kill” after he learned somebody close to him had been raped by a black man.
Speaking to Good Morning America about his offensive comments, he said:
We were doing a press junket. The topic of a film is revenge. It’s base is revenge.
A lady journalist asked how I tap into that and I remembered an incident nearly 40 years ago where a very dear friend of mine was brutally raped.
And I was out of the country. When I came back she told me about this. She handled the situation incredibly bravely. But I never felt this feeling before which was a primal urge to lash out. I asked her did you know the person. It was a man. His race? She said he was a black man
I thought OK. And after that, some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence. I did it four or five times.
He wants people to “scratch the surface. Racism and bigotry is there."
Neeson said he was “shocked” by the “primal urge” that he had, and he sought help, and said if his friend, who passed away, had said the man who raped her was "Irish or Scottish or Lithuanian, I would have had the same effect. I was trying to show honour and stand up to my friend in a medieval [manner]".
He added that to try and get better, he "went to a priest", "talked to friends" and "power walked".
At one point he reveals a “true story” about someone close to him who was raped. When the unnamed woman told him what happened, his immediate reaction, he revealed, was “did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person".
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 [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.
The Taken actor expressed remorse for his actions. “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 added: “It’s awful but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing,’ you know?”
As the story unfolded, more and more people condemned his comments.
David Lammy wrote: "This saddens me on so many levels."
This saddens me on so many levels. Least of all because I love Liam Neeson’s body of work. There is good and bad i… https://t.co/IF1lvaW4Wj
Football legend John Barnes went against the tide of criticism and said he “should be applauded” for revealing he wanted to kill a black man after his friend was raped. He said:
He went on to say he was ashamed and horrified by the way he felt.
He's not ashamed and horrified at wanting to commit the act of revenge, he's ashamed and horrified because that is what he thought about all black people.
You cannot blame people for thinking Muslims, because of Muslim grooming gangs, Jamaican yardie gangs, then look at Muslims and Jamaicans in a negative light.
And he's admitting that that is the way he viewed it. So, for this one black person who raped this woman, he then looked at it from the perspective of all black people are rapists.
Barnes said that "as much as people are now jumping on this bandwagon of how terrible it is, what he has done is come out and he's told the truth".
He continued: "The big problem we have is when people are afraid to admit the way they actually feel..."
"I have more respect for him now than if he had come out and said, 'I view all black people as equal, I just view everybody as equal'."
"I always say, we are all unconscious racists," he said. "And he said, unconsciously for a week and a half, that's how he felt. We have people who have been doing it and keeping it quiet for 20 years, but as long as you don't admit it then we think everything is OK."
In light of Liam Neeson's controversial comments, indy100 wants to know: Will you watch a Liam Neeson film again, past, present or future? Take the poll, below: