UPDATE 5/2/19: The red carpet for the New York premiere of Liam Neeson's upcoming movie Cold Pursuit has been cancelled in the wake of the racially charged interview he gave to the Independent, Sky News reports. Neeson has been under fire since admitting that he sought out physical confrontations with black men 40 years ago, after his friend told him that she was brutally raped by a black man.
See the original story below.
Liam Neeson appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday to clarify his controversial comments, and to explain that he’s “not a racist.”
The actor has been harshly criticized after sharing in an interview with the Independent that he wanted to “unleash physical violence” on a black man after a good friend revealed she has been raped years ago.
While speaking to Robin Roberts, Neeson explained that he had a "primal urge to lash out" after finding out about the incident. “I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon,” he said. “It shocked me and it hurt me ... I did seek help, I went to a priest.”
“Luckily no violence occurred,” he added, conceding that if he was confronted, he would have attacked and maybe even killed a man. He told Roberts that he asked his friend to give him more details about the man who attacked her. If Neeson’s friend had said the attacker was white, Neeson would have been on the hunt for someone who was white.
“God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” he told the Independent. When he found out about the rape, “my immediate reaction was ... I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person.”
The actor said he would walk along the streets, carrying a heavy stick, praying someone would try to come in contact with him and start a fight.
In his previous comments, Neeson admitted that he deeply regrets his actions. “I’m ashamed to say that and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black b------' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could ... kill him,” he said.
He continued, “It was horrible, horrible when I think back, that I did that ... It’s awful, but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f--- are you doing?’”
Neeson told Roberts that he hopes his revelation will help people "open up," and then opined about the state of racism in America. "We all pretend we're kind of politically correct," he said. "I mean, in this country, it's the same in my own country too, you sometimes just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry, and it's there."
Watch the interview in its entirety below.