Liam Neeson is facing criticism after the actor admitted he fantasized about committing a racially motivated murder after a friend of his was raped.
Speaking to The Independent during a junket for his latest vengeance-laced action film Cold Pursuit, Neeson told the story for the first time: Upon returning home – the actor doesn’t clarify where – after working overseas, a female friend informed him that she had been raped.
“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said. “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.”
Neeson continued, “I went up and down areas with a cosh [a heavy stick], hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ [in air quotes, the Independent noted] would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could… kill him.”
The actor added that he walked the streets with a cosh for a week or so before that level of anger subsided.
“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid,” Neeson said before expressing regret for his actions. “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing,’ you know?”
Neeson withheld certain details regarding the rape in order to protect his friend’s identify, and he declined the Independent’s request for a follow-up interview.
The actor’s interview was immediately met with outrage: “Liam Neeson Is Canceled” is the title of a USA Today story summarizing the social media reaction to Neeson’s comments. At press time, Neeson has not released a statement addressing his remarks and the subsequent controversy.