Ralph Fiennes has insisted that Liam Neeson isn’t a racist, despite his admission last month that he once roamed the streets plotting a racially-motivated attack.
In an interview with The Independent, while promoting the revenge movie Cold Pursuit, Neeson said that he was consumed with anger and a ‘primal rage’ when he discovered a close friend had been raped by an unknown black assailant.
He said that the incident occurred some 40 years ago, and that he wandered around black neighbourhoods armed with a cosh, hoping he would be set upon, giving him cause to retaliate.
But Fiennes, who starred with Neeson in the Oscar-winning Schindler’s List, has defended him.
“Liam confessed to some very ugly and angry emotions, which he himself acknowledged were an appalling thing, but they were something he experienced many years ago. He made a confession in an interview,” Fiennes told RTE in an interview on radio.
“I know him to be one of the most loyal and honourable and good men there are, and certainly not a racist.”
Another of Neeson’s co-stars, Michelle Rodriguez, who appeared with him in the recent remake of Widows by director Steve McQueen, has also jumped to his defence.
“Ignore it,” Rodriguez told Vanity Fair. “He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies.”
Read more: Neeson says he’s not racist
McQueen, however, has said that he was ‘disturbed’ by the comments.
He told the Today programme on Radio 4: “I was upset and finally I was just disappointed. You never know what’s in people’s minds. You just never know.
“That’s not really primeval [sic] if race is involved, that’s … a learned behaviour and therefore something very uncomfortable indeed.
“I just find racism very funny and very stupid and very silly. It’s absurd. I don’t even know how to answer that question, if you have to get stupid to answer that question I would rather keep my intelligence.”