Liam Neeson Apologizes for His 'Unacceptable Thoughts' About Killing a Black Man
Weeks after Liam Neeson last spoke out about his controversial and widely condemned comments of wanting to kill a random ‘black b—’, the actor has issued another apology.
In a statement obtained by Variety this week, Neeson, 66, took responsibility for his “unacceptable thoughts and actions” and claimed that those “irrational” remarks did not properly “represent the person I am.”
“Over the last several weeks, I have reflected on and spoken to a variety of people who were hurt by my impulsive recounting of a brutal rape of a dear female friend nearly 40 years ago and my unacceptable thoughts and actions at that time in response to this crime,” he told the outlet.
“The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am,” Neeson continued. “In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponized and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage.”
“What I failed to realize is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact my words have today,” he said. “I was wrong to do what I did. I recognize that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive.”
Finished Neeson: “I profoundly apologize.”
In an interview with The Independent at the beginning of February, Neeson recalled how he had sought “revenge” after a female friend of his was 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 attacker specifically, however.
“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” Neeson told the Independent.
The topic from Neeson’s past came up during the interview with the British publication while the actor was discussing vengeance, the subject of many of his recent films including Cold Pursuit — his newest movie in which he plays a character seeking retribution for the death of his son.
While recalling the rape of his close friend in the interview, Neeson explained how it drove his feelings of rage.
“God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” he 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 color were they? She said it was a black person.”
“I went up and down areas with a cosh [bludgeon], hoping I’d be approached by somebody — I’m ashamed to say that … 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 said.
The Oscar winner also shared that he behaved this way for “a week, maybe a week and a half … [My friend] would say, ‘Where are you going?’ and I would say, ‘I’m just going out for a walk.’ ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘No, no, nothing’s wrong.’ ”
In the wake of the controversy and condemnation over his comments, the Irish actor sat down with Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts and he insisted that he was not racist.
“I’m not a racist,” Neeson 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, “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.”
Neeson told GMA that he addressed his feelings back then in order to understand and change them. “I did seek help. I went to a priest,” he explained.
“Luckily no violence occurred,” Neeson said. “[But] it really shocked me, this primal urge that I had. It shocked me. It hurt me.”