Liam Neeson finds himself in hot water after sharing a story about wanting to kill any "black bastard" upon learning that someone close to him was raped by a black man .
Known for films such as Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, George Lucas' Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and the action thriller series, Taken, Neeson is currently promoting his latest film, Hans Petter Moland's Cold Pursuit. But things got awkward during the film's press junket after the actor shared a personal story sparking racial controversy.
Speaking with Independent about Cold Pursuit's premise which involves revenge, Neeson shared a personal story about hunting a "black bastard" after someone close to him was raped. "But my immediate reaction was… I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they," he recalled. It turns out, the perpetrator was a black person which prompted him to go on streets in the hopes of killing one.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.
“It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f*** are you doing,’ you know?
“I come from a society – I grew up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles – and, you know, I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland’s proof of that. All this stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand.”
Soon after the interview got published, reactions to Neeson's admission made their way online. Journalists have weighed in on the matter, some comparing his recent comments to Vigo Mortensen's from late last year. Others, meanwhile came up with memes regarding to how he does his interview and how his PR team will try to tame down the backlash from this story. No word yet from Neeson's camp.
PITCH: tough middle-age dudes Liam Neeson and Viggo Mortensen team up to assassinate careers. They start with their own.— Walter Chaw (@mangiotto) February 4, 2019
Liam Neeson is today’s example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 4, 2019
(Liam Neeson is promoting TAKEN 5)— Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) February 4, 2019
Liam Neeson: In the mid '90s I operated as a serial arsonist in and around the London metropolitan area and was never caught.
Frankly, Neeson sharing the story was unnecessary since nothing good came out of it (at least for himself). He could've kept the tale a secret which would've saved his team this huge mess that they need to deal with. His supposed realization also missed to address the biggest problem with his story - his prejudice against black people because one committed a crime against the someone dear to him. Amidst the talk about not wanting to seek revenge because it'll just start a vicious cycle, he didn't say anything about coming to his senses that he was looking to take out his anger on any other black person just because he has the same skin color as the suspect. The fact that he initially identified the perpetrator based on the color of his skin was already problematic.
With Cold Pursuit a few days away from hitting theaters, it's expected that Neeson will continue doing the press rounds to promote the film. Whether or not this has been changed following the actor's recent comments and the backlash that followed remains to be seen. Assuming he remains visible during the movie's press activities, it'll be interesting how this controversy affects the way he's questioned during junkets, as well as how the project will be received by the viewing public.
Source: Various links
- Cold Pursuit (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019