Michelle Rodriguez doesn’t believe that Liam Neeson’s controversial confession about once wanting to “kill” a black man means the actor is racist
“It’s all f— b—. Liam Neeson is not a racist,” she told Vanity Fair on the red carpet at the amFAR Gala in New York City on Wednesday.
The 40-year-old actress contended that given his passionate scenes with Viola Davis in Widows, Neeson couldn’t be racist.
“Dude, have you watched Widows? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’s throat. You can’t call him a racist ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue — so deep down her throat. I don’t care how good of an actor you are,” she remarked of the film, in which Davis and Neeson play spouses.
“It’s all b—. Ignore it. He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies,” she added.
Neeson has faced an intense backlash for revealing that after a female friend of his was allegedly raped, he wanted to “kill” someone who was the same race as her attacker — a black man.
The alarming admission came while the Irish actor, 66, was promoting his new film Cold Pursuit, in which he plays a father seeking vengeance for the death of his son, during an interview with The Independent.
“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,” he told the U.K. outlet, before admitting, “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that.”
The actor went on to explain that the incident in question happened “nearly 40 years ago” and also claimed that he “definitely” would have searched for a white man with the same anger if his friend said her attacker had fit that description.
Host Robin Roberts, for her part, pushed Neeson on the issue — detailing why so many who read his comments were upset.
“This wasn’t discovered by somebody. You admitted this. I give you credit there. But also [you have to] acknowledge that the hurt of an innocent black man knowing that he could have been killed for something he did not do because of the color of his skin,” Roberts said. “I know that you’re getting crucified in many ways for saying what you did — and you’re not shying away, you’re admitting that it was wrong — but you have to also understand the pain of a black person hearing what you said.”
Neeson said he agreed but insisted “I didn’t think about that.”
“All those things surprised me,” he added. “But it was this primal hatred, I guess, that really, really shocked me when I eventually came down to earth and I saw what I was doing. Going out and looking for a fight? Violence breeds violence, bigotry breeds bigotry.”