Liam Neeson’s red carpet event at the premiere of Cold Pursuit has been canceled, following the star’s recent racist remarks. The star of such notable action romps as the Taken series and Oscar-nominated for his emotional turn as Oskar Schindler in 1993’s Schindler’s List, Cold Pursuit is the latest revenge thriller on the 66-year-old’s extensive action resume.
Set in a small mountain town, Cold Pursuit follows snowplow driver Nels Coxman (Neeson) as he sets out on a revenge rampage against the gang of drug dealers that he believes to be responsible for the death of his son. The film was all set for an enthusiastic February 8 release, but during a recent promotional interview for the film, Neeson admitted that he’d once planned to kill a random black man in response to the rape of a close friend.
Since then, news of Neeson’s racist reveal has understandably gone viral. Although the Taken star has had time to attempt his own version of damage control, Deadline has now reported that the red carpet portion of Cold Pursuit’s New York City premiere has been canceled. A source close to the film has stated that given the circumstances, the red carpet event is not appropriate. The film’s premiere, however, will still go ahead as planned.
After making the initial statement about looking to kill a black man, Neeson appeared on Good Morning America and attempted to clear the air. Despite seeking to transfer the rage he felt at his friend’s rape on to an innocent black man, Neeson insists that he’s not a racist and that he would have employed the same tactic regardless of the rapist’s skin color. The event in question, in which Neeson “went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody”, occurred about 40 years ago. After realizing the severity of what he was about to do, Neeson says he talked to a priest and took up power walking in order to try and escape such a negative headspace.
Whether or not Neeson considers himself a racist, he’s certainly asking a lot of the public to not view him as one, given this substantial revelation. And while the story he was disclosing happened a long time ago and was based on what he describes as a ‘primal urge to lash out’ in light of his friend’s rape, the fact remains that he deliberately targeted innocent men of a specific race for murder. Those sorts of declarations are not easily forgotten, regardless of political climate or zeitgeist. Whether these troubling actions will harm Cold Pursuit’s box office hopes remains to be seen, but if past problematic celebrity statements or actions are any indication, Cold Pursuit and Neeson could be facing a very chilly future.
- Cold Pursuit (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019