Weeks after generating controversy for discussing a past event in which he wanted to bait a black man into fighting him to avenge a recently raped friend, Liam Neeson has released an apology for the remarks.
“Over the last several weeks, I have reflected on and spoken to a variety of people who were hurt by my impulsive recounting of a brutal rape of a dear female friend nearly 40 years ago and my unacceptable thoughts and actions at that time in response to this crime,” he said in a statement. “The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am. In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponized and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage. What I failed to realize is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact my words have today. I was wrong to do what I did. I recognize that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive. I profoundly apologize.”
The initial remarks came when he was asked a question about tapping into a revenge mentality while he was promoting his most recent thriller, “Cold Pursuit.”
In an article published in Britain’s Independent newspaper in early February, Neeson recalled an incident in which he wanted to kill “some black bastard” upon learning that his close friend was brutally raped over 40 years ago.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh (a club), hoping I’d be approached by somebody — I’m ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him,” he said at the time.
He would go on to address the controversy on “Good Morning America,” where he told Robin Roberts, “I’m not a racist.”
“I never felt this before, which was a primal urge to lash out,” he explained to Roberts. “I asked her, ‘Did you know the person? It was a man? His race?’ She said he was a black man. I thought, ‘Ok.’ After that, there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in this city, looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence. I did it for maybe four or five times. It really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help. I went to a priest. I had two very good friends I talked to, and believe it or not — power walking — to get rid of this.”