LONDON (AP) — Liam Neeson has said he is ashamed to admit he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped.
In an interview published Monday, Neeson said that after being told the attacker was black, he “went up and down areas with a cosh (similar to crowbar), 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,” another pause, “kill him.”
Many social media users on Twitter expressed shock at his admission, accusing Neeson of racism.
“This is pretty horrendous. If a white person commits a crime against another race of people, god forbid. Should these people blame all white people? No. Anyone who has thoughts like that is clearly a racist. It’s appalling to read stuff like this.”
“Who the FUCK asks a woman who has been raped the race of their rapist? A racist. That’s who. Oh also a sexist, nasty fuck who doesn’t care about the raped friend.”
The Northern Ireland-born actor recounted the story in an interview with The Independent while promoting his new thriller “Cold Pursuit,” about a father who seeks violent revenge for his son’s death.
He said the incident happened some time ago when he returned from an overseas trip to learn a close friend had been raped.
Neeson, 66, called his reaction “horrible,” saying it taught him a lesson about the “primal need” for revenge.
Neeson, who grew up in Northern Ireland during the decades of violence known as the Troubles, said: “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.”
Neeson’s publicist didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.