Liam Neeson's racism controversy isn't showing any signs of dissipating, as the red carpet events before the New York premiere of his latest film have been cancelled.
Just one day after the interview was shared involving the actor describing his revenge plot against a "black b*astard" for the rape of his friend, the Cold Pursuit promotion has ended.
He went on Good Morning America yesterday to try and explain the remarks, which he made during an interview with The Independent, saying; “I’m not a racist.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 5, 2019
His comments have been met with huge outrage since Monday, and has drawn condemnation from civil rights activists for their racist tones.
The Taken actor has said that the episode roughly occurred 40 years ago, after hearing that a close friend had been raped by a black assailant.
“After that there were some nights when I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence,” Mr. Neeson said. “And I did it for, I’d say, maybe four or five times.”
Football legend @officialbarnesy says he thinks actor Liam Neeson "deserves a medal" for his honesty about once having violent thoughts about killing a black person.
— (@SkyNews) February 6, 2019
The interviewer on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts, who is African-American, told Mr. Neeson, “You have to understand the pain of a black person hearing what you said.”
Mr. Neeson replied: “You’re absolutely right, and at the time, even though it was 40 years ago, I didn’t think about that. All those things surprised me, but it was this primal hatred, I guess, that really, really shocked me when I eventually came down to earth and saw what I was doing — going out and looking for a fight.”
Yesterday's red carpet events, which would have allowed Mr. Neeson and his co-stars to talk to reporters, cameras and more questions, were cancelled hours before they were scheduled to begin, according to a spokesman for Lionsgate, who wouldn't make a statement about the actor's remarks.
The premiere of Liam Neeson's film was cancelled last night, amid backlash for speaking about wanting to kill a 'black man' for the revenge of a friend's rape.
— (@GMB) February 6, 2019
In his interview with Good Morning America, Neeson said he would have responded with a similar “primal urge” if his friend’s attacker had been white, and also linked his urge for violence to his time growing up in The Troubles of Northern Ireland.
“If she would have said an Irish or a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know I would have had the same effect,” Mr. Neeson said on Tuesday, referring to his friend. “I was trying to show honour to my- stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion.”
He power-walked and spoke to a Catholic priest to try and overcome his anger about his friend's horrible victimisation; the friend passed away five years ago.
Mr. Neeson said the episode 40 years ago had taught him that violence and revenge only lead to more violence and revenge. He said the uproar this week had taught him something, too.
“We all pretend we’re politically correct, but in this country, it’s the same in my own country, too, but sometimes you just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry,” he said. “It’s there.”
Feature image; stuff.co.nz