Liam Neeson has ignited a race row after speaking for the first time about his extreme reaction when he learned a loved one had allegedly been raped while he was overseas.
During an interview with the Independent to promote his new film Cold Pursuit, the actor, 66, described how he walked the streets looking for a ‘black b*****d’ to kill in a misguided attempt at revenge.
Liam’s new movie sees the action star take on the role of a father intent on revenge after his son has been killed in a drug feud, with Liam revealing he understands his character’s motivation.
Revenge: Liam Neeson has ignited a race row after revealing he walked the streets with a weapon looking for a ‘black b*****d’ to kill after a loved one ‘was raped’
Liam explained: ‘There’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions.’
He said that after coming home from an overseas trip years ago he was told a loved one, who he does not name, had been raped.
Liam said: ‘She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way. But my immediate reaction was I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.
New role: During an interview with the Independent to promote his new film Cold Pursuit (pictured), the actor, 66, described how he walked the streets looking for a ‘black b*****d’ to kill
‘I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be… approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black b******d’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.’
He went on: ‘It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that. She would say, “Where are you going?” and I would say, “I’m just going out for a walk.” You know? “What’s wrong?” “No no, nothing’s wrong.'”
He admitted it was a ‘horrible’ time and he’s learned a valuable lesson from his ‘awful’ reaction. He added that growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles has given him insight into the ‘primal need for revenge’ and how destructive that can be.
Opinions: Liam’s words ignited a race row on Twitter from fans who were disappointed by his interview
Liam’s words ignited a race row on Twitter from fans.
They wrote on social media: ‘Well, I’ve seen it all now. Liam Neeson admitted to going around trying to find a black person to kill because someone he was close to got raped by a black person, and the journalist spoke to a psychologist to help contextualise his racism and included it in the article? WILD.
‘Liam Neeson 1) says he wanted to kill a random black man over an unrelated crime 2) thought this was an anecdote he could share to promote his movie.’
‘Wow so Liam Neeson is f***ing cancelled. So if the guy was white you’d go stalking the streets to find a random, unrelated white person to kill? Scumbag.’
‘Congratulations to everyone who had money on Liam Neeson getting canceled this week in their 2019 Canceled Celebs company pool. Didn’t see that one coming.’
‘Liam Neeson’s racist? Kmt man. Another one of my legends has got to go.’
‘Every Virtue Signaller on social media: Wow that actor is a racist.’
‘Result: Twitter pile on and no invite to host Oscars for Liam Neeson.’
Something to say: Fans took to Twitter in their droves to write about their feelings following the interview
‘Imagine if Liam Neeson had stopped looking for his daughter in Taken, just picked a random girl out the street & was like “yup, that’ll do”. That s**t doesn’t even make sense in the movies, so why he thought it would make sense in real life is beyond me.
‘Interviewer: liam do you mean the specific rapist? Liam Neeson: i’d like to kill any black man but not in a racist way.’
‘The reactions to Liam Neeson’s interview is as expected. Some people saying he’s cancelled, others calling him “brave” for admitting he wanted to murder black men. There are, fortunately, a few people giving nuanced takes.’
‘Disappointed but not at all surprised that Liam Neeson attempts to justify his blatant racism by blaming trauma experienced by someone that isn’t him.’
‘Can you imagine a black actor saying what Liam Neeson said, only, “I walked around with a cosh looking for any white man to kill” and the journalist going “uh-huh..let me just go speak to a psychologist to explain your mindset at the time”?…NAW!!’
Different view: A couple of people sympathised with Liam a little and suggested he could have been having a breakdown
A couple of people sympathised with Liam a little.
They wrote: ‘I feel like liam neeson is trying to admit that he had a massive emotional and psychological breakdown but i can’t tell.
‘Actor: Here’s a truthful story about a time I was a young man and was so angry I acted totally irrationally.’
Liam plays Nels Coxman in Cold Pursuit, a small town snowplow operator intent on tracking down the drug dealers he believes to be responsible for the death of his son.
Big screen star: Although winning widespread acclaim for his role in violent thrillers such as the Taken franchise, in September 2017 Liam said he was done with the genre
The film is a remake of 2014 Norwegian film In Order Of Disappearance and also stars Emmy Rossum and Laura Dern.
Although winning widespread acclaim for his role in violent thrillers such as the Taken franchise, in September 2017 Liam said he was done with the genre, only to return this year with Cold Pursuit.
At the time, Neeson said that he planned to stop even though it’s hard to turn down the lucrative offers he gets thanks to his box-office success in the three Taken films, as well as other thrillers.
Action man: Liam has has critical acclaim and huge box office success over the past decade with his revenge-based thrillers (pictured in 2011’s The Grey)
‘The thrillers, that was all a pure accident,’ said Neeson. ‘They’re still throwing serious money at me to do that stuff. I’m like, “Guy’s I’m sixty-f—ing-five.” Audiences are eventually going to go, “Come on.”‘
Liam has had a troubled personal life.
Only three weeks ago, he learned that his nephew, Ronan Sexton, passed away, five years after suffering catastrophic head injuries in a 20ft fall from the top of a phonebox.
Ronan was partying with friends in Brighton in June 2014 when he climbed up the kiosk on the city’s seafront but slipped and landed in a concrete subway below.
The tragedy came nine years after the death of Neeson’s wife of 15 years, Natasha Richardson, who suffered a fatal head injury during a ski trip in 2009.
And in yet more heartbreak for the family Ronan’s mother lost her partner Harry Shannon two years ago.
Tragedy: Liam has had a troubled personal life. Only three weeks ago, he learned that his nephew, Ronan Sexton, passed away, five years after suffering catastrophic head injuries in a 20ft fall from the top of a phonebox
Horrific: Liam sadly lost his wife Natasha Richardson in 2009 after she hit her head and died in a skiing accident