Liam Neeson has become the subject of social media backlash after stating that he was once on a mission to kill a “black bastard” as revenge after learning that a black man had raped a friend of his.
The 66-year-old actor made the disturbing admission during an interview with The Independent on Monday to promote his latest film, “Cold Pursuit,” adding that he now regrets how he felt and what he wanted to do back then.
The Irish actor had just returned from an international trip years ago when he learned that a woman close to him had been raped. He said that while she handled it “in the most extraordinary way,” he reacted differently.
“I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color 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,” he said (“cosh” is British slang for a club-like weapon). “I’m ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”
Neeson used “air quotes” when mentioning a “black bastard,” the article noted. He also said that he continued that behavior for perhaps a week and a half before he stopped.
“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,” he said, adding later, “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f--k are you doing,’ you know?”
Neeson went on to reference his upbringing in Northern Ireland as what helped him understand the “primal” desire for revenge that’s the focus of so many of his films, including his latest, “Cold Pursuit,” which follows a man whose son was killed by a drug gang.
Neeson may have learned from that experience, but that has not curbed the shock and outrage that’s erupted online in response to the actor’s troubling tale. His name was a trending topic on Twitter on Monday, and while some focused their discussions on how unacceptable Neeson’s violent urges were, others called out the writer, Clémence Michallon, for including the opinions of a non-profit worker and a university psychologist in her reporting of Neeson’s story, pointing to it as an attempt to legitimize Neeson’s past racism and potentially violent views.
When asked by the same journalist if he’d like to elaborate on the story, Neeson reportedly declined. He has yet to comment publicly on the backlash.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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