Speaking to the US breakfast show, Neeson told host Robin Roberts:
A lady journalist asked how I tap into that and I remembered an incident 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 told Roberts that he sought the help of a priest, spoke to friends and “power-walked” after hoping to be “set upon” by a black man.
"I'm not racist," he insisted.
For many, this was not the apology they were hoping for.
What the Liam Neeson interview has shown is that phone-in radio and daytime TV show hosts will jump on any excuse t… https://t.co/nG36ILCZ1W
Football legend John Barnes went against the tide and said Neeson ‘deserves a medal’ for his honesty.
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.
Football legend @officialbarnesy has told Sky News he thinks actor Liam Neeson 'deserves a medal' for his honesty a… https://t.co/wurqiZbHmA