Liam Neeson is facing a devastating backlash over comments he made in an interview published yesterday, during which he admitted seeking racially-charged revenge after a friend was raped.
During a junket for his new movie Cold Pursuit, Neeson revealed to The Independent that he went out carrying a cosh hoping that he’d be ‘approached by somebody’, after finding out the man who committed the crime was black.
“I’m ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [gestures 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,” said the 66-year old.
“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.
“It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f*** are you doing,’ you know?”
The response to the remarks has been one of shell shock, bafflement, condemnation and a smattering, though very much in the minority, of those coming to his defence.
On Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan blasted the actor, suggesting that it could cause irreparable damage to his career.
“I don’t know what’s possessed Liam Neeson to tell this story. When you hear him say this, I think there will be genuine, fully justified outrage over what he’s said,” he said.
“The only parallel I can think of is Mel Gibson who said some horrendous things to his Russian girlfriend or wife at the time. He was very racist when he said it.
‘I can’t think of anything more staggering that’s come out of a movie star’s mouth. I would be very surprised if Liam Neeson’s career is not now in very serious trouble. If I was a black person, I would not want to see this guy’s movies. So racist. It’s like Ku Klux Klan stuff.”
There has been some defence of Neeson, writer Eric D. Snider tweeting:
However, Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson hit back at the claim, replying:
Neeson is yet to make a statement on the remarks.