In a recent interview, Liam Neeson recounted his brief desire for revenge against a man who allegedly raped someone close to him — an admission that drew swift criticism for the celebrated star Monday because of its violent and discriminatory nature.
Without identifying the rape survivor, the actor said that upon learning of the sexual assault some time ago, he immediately asked the victim who her assailant was and “what color were they.” Upon learning he was black, Neeson took to the streets to kill the man — or any random person he thought fit the racial description.
Published Monday, the disturbing revelation was made in an interview with the British newspaper the Independent during a news junket for the action star’s upcoming film, “Cold Pursuit,” about three weeks ago.Perhaps to illuminate his character’s modus operandi, Neeson recounted the tale, which described the “primal need” for violence.
At the time, the “Taken” star said he would just tell the rape survivor that he was going out for a walk.
“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” Neeson said. “And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”
Neeson, whose costar Tom Bateman was also present during the interview, tried to convey some remorse and said he eventually came to and learned a lesson. He added that because he grew up in embattled Northern Ireland, he understands “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,” he said.
Neeson’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for a comment on Monday.
Twitter users both harangued and criticized the action star on Monday for sharing the story. Here’s a sampling of their reactions.
Liam Neeson being ready to take any Black life over what one person allegedly did just shows how meaningless and inconsequential black lives are to some.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) February 4, 2019
Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understating that there may not be repercussions.
Liam Neeson is definitely a reminder that there are folks who walk around hoping to provoke Black people so they can kill us.— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) February 4, 2019
A lot of them are in law enforcement and politics.
Well, I've seen it all now. Liam Neeson admitted to going around trying to find a black person to kill because someone he was close to got raped by a black person, and the journalist spoke to a psychologist to help contextualise his racism and included it in the article? WILD.— Elizabeth Pears (@BizPears) February 4, 2019
Remember, Liam Neeson wanting to carry out an attack on a Black man, was racist AND hetero-phobic. So you all can’t leave out the intersection of heterophobia and race that cis gendered Black men face.— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) February 4, 2019
remember when the viral Liam Neeson story was that a nice horse recognized him— David Sims (@davidlsims) February 4, 2019
peter farrelly optioning the liam neeson story — in theaters july 2021— hunter harris (@hunteryharris) February 4, 2019
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