The 66-year-old actor is receiving major backlash on social media for an interview he did with Britain's The Independentto promote his new film, Cold Pursuit. The Taken star shared a story with the outlet about a time when he once sought revenge after an unnamed female loved one told him she had allegedly been raped.
"There's something primal -- God forbid you've ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions. I'll tell you a story, this is true," Neeson said, adding that he had just come back from overseas "some time ago" when the woman claimed she had been sexually assaulted. "She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way. But my immediate reaction was... I asked, did she know who it was? No. 'What color were they?' She said it was a black person."
"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody," he added. "I'm ashamed to say that -- and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black b*****d' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could... kill him."
Neeson continued on, telling the outlet it took him about a week and a half to "go through that."
"She would say, 'Where are you going?' and I would say, 'I'm just going out for a walk,'" he said. "'What’s wrong?' 'No no, nothing's wrong.'"
"It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that," he added. "And I've never admitted that, and I'm saying it to a journalist. God forbid."
Though Neeson knows what he was thinking and doing at the time was "awful," he said he also learned a lesson from it: "When I eventually thought, 'What the f**k are you doing?'"
"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," he explained. "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."
Those who read the story immediately took to Twitter to voice their concerns.
"Not how old were they? How tall were they? You just asked what color were they? I don't care how sorry you are, Liam Neeson, that is disgusting," one Twitter user wrote, with another writing, "That Liam Neeson interview is just so saddening (and yes, still racist). It reinforces the idea that people of color, and especially black men, are collectively responsible for the misdeeds of one."
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I see #LiamNeeson is trending because his career just died.