In a new interview to promote his latest film Cold Pursuit, Liam Neeson said he wanted to kill a black man after he found out his friend was assaulted.
The actor, famous for his vigilante role in the Taken movies, told the Independent that a woman he’s friends with once confided in him that she was raped by a black man and that he wanted to seek revenge on behalf of the woman.
Neeson said, “I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.”
Nesson continued: “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.”
The confession from Neeson has sparked a range of reactions. Readers were generally shocked that he shared this story with the public.
“If you told looked me in the eye and told me this liam neeson thing to my face I'd assume you were making things up after becoming a little too invested in his film persona,” Hanif Abdurraqib wrote on Twitter.
Some people made jokes about the ridiculousness of his statements, like this tweet from JuanPa:
Others noted the racist connotations in what Neeson said.
“What the FUCK is this piece??? Rich white dude center's himself after a friend is raped. Immediately jumps to seek racist revenge,” Wagatwe Wanjuki tweeted. “He talks about primal urges?! And then the author tries to explain he's not racist. HE'S FUCKING RACIST.”
In the interview, the actor continued, “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,” Neeson said. “God forbid.”
A representative for Neeson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.