Liam Neeson has sparked a race row after making comments about once wanting to kill a black person.
He says he walked the streets with a weapon, hoping to kill someone as revenge after someone close to him was raped by a black man.
The actor, who was promoting his new film Cold Pursuit, told the Independent that « there’s something primal » when you become angry.
The BBC has contacted Liam Neeson’s representatives for comment.
In the interview, he said: « 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 the alleged rape took place a long time ago and he found out about it when he came back from a trip abroad. The actor went on to use racially offensive language about the attacker.
He said: « 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 colour 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 – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [uses air quotes with 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. »
Neeson, whose new film sees him star as a snowplough driver seeking revenge against drug dealers he thinks killed his son, has been subject to a lot of criticism on social media over the interview for what has been seen as racially charged comments.
Javon Johnson said on Twitter that the comments were « violently discarding black folks » but were also « haunted by patriarchy » because « he turned his friend’s sexual assault into a platform for his own need to prove his male dominance. »
Julia Craven added: « So Liam Neeson’s response to a loved one being raped was to: 1. Ask the race of the assailant, which tells us his racism was deep rooted before the assault. 2. Roam through (presumably) black neighbourhoods in hopes of provoking a black person so that he could murder them. »
Neeson referred back to his comments later in the interview, adding: « 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. God forbid.
« It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it. »
The 66-year-old, who is best known for Schindler’s List and the thriller series Taken, also described growing up in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, during the Troubles.
« 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, 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 added.
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