Liam Neeson Addresses 2019 Racism Controversy in 'Atlanta' Cameo: 'I Apologize If I Hurt People'

Liam Neeson has a scene with Brian Tyree Henry in the most recent episode of Atlanta, which involves a napkin reading, "CANCEL CLUB"

liam neeson
Liam Neeson. Photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Liam Neeson is addressing controversy he faced after saying three years ago that he once sought out any random Black man to "kill."

The Irish actor, 69, made a cameo alongside Brian Tyree Henry's Paper Boi in Thursday's episode of Atlanta, which was written by series creator and star Donald Glover.

In the scene, Neeson and Paper Boi are seated at a bar. After Paper Boi picks up his drink (only to reveal a napkin reading, "CANCEL CLUB"), Neeson tells him, "You might've heard or read about my transgression — you know, what I said about what I wanted to do to a Black guy. Any Black guy, when I was a younger man. A friend of mine had been raped, and I acted out of anger."

"I look back, man, it honestly frightens me," he continues. "I thought people, knowing who I once was, [that it would] would make clear who I am, who I've become."

"But, with all that being said … I am sorry. I apologize if I hurt people," Neeson says.

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Liam Neeson and Brian Tyree Henry
Liam Neeson (L); Brian Tyree Henry. Carlos Alvarez/Getty; Momodu Mansaray/WireImage/Getty

"Well, between you and me ... I still f--- with Taken," replies Paper Boi, and the two men laugh. "It's good to know that you don't hate Black people."

"What? No, no, no, I can't stand the lot of you," Neeson quips. "Now I feel that way, because you tried to ruin my career. Didn't succeed, mind you. I'm sure one day I'll get over it, but until then, we are mortal enemies."

"But didn't you learn that you shouldn't say s--- like that?" Paper Boi asks him.

"Aye. But I also learned that the best and worst part about being white is you don't have to learn anything if you don't want to," Neeson responds before departing, leaving behind a visibly stunned Paper Boi.

In a 2019 interview with The Independent, Neeson recalled how he had sought "revenge" after a female friend of his was allegedly raped. The actor claimed he was walking the streets with a weapon wanting to murder a Black man, as that was the race of her attacker. He admitted he wasn't searching for the alleged attacker specifically, however.

RELATED VIDEO: Liam Neeson Says "I'm Not a Racist" While Addressing Shocking Comments About Killing a Black Man

"It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that," Neeson told the U.K outlet at the time.

Amid a wave of controversy and condemnation over his comments, Neeson spoke to Good Morning Amerca's Robin Roberts.

"I'm not a racist," the actor said, explaining that the incident in question happened "nearly 40 years ago" and claiming that he "definitely" would have searched for a white man with the same anger if his friend said her attacker had fit that description.

He told Roberts, 61, "If she'd have said an Irish, or a Scott, or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know [it] would've had the same effect."

"I was trying to show honor — to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion," Neeson said. "I am a fairly intelligent guy. That's why it kind of shocked me when I came down to Earth after having these terrible feelings. Luckily no violence occurred. I did want to lash out because my friend was brutally raped and I was defending her honor. It was a learning curve."

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