Liam Neeson has responded to the backlash over his admission he contemplated killing a random black person, saying “I’m not racist, this was nearly 40 years ago.”
A day after The Independent published Neeson’s initial remarks, the action movie star used an appearance on Good Morning America to recount his reaction to learning of the alleged rape of a close friend by a black man.
Neeson said he hoped “to be set upon, so that I could unleash physical violence” on a random black person as some kind of retribution, and that he set out do to so “maybe four or five times.”
He said he eventually sought external help for his urges in the form of confession, talking with friends, and power-walking.
When pushed by host Robin Roberts on his decision to target random individuals based on their ethnicity, Neeson said he would have had the same reaction “If she had said an Irish, or a Scot, or a Brit or a Lithuanian“.
He added he felt he was motivated to seek violence against members of a specific ethnic group after being raised amidst the sectarian violence of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
“I’m not a racist.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 5, 2019
The conversation on Good Morning America comes after widespread condemnation of Neeson, and a broader discussion of how underlying racist prejudices can motivate individuals into violence.
2017: James Jackson stabs blk man to death bc he “hated interracial dating”
2015: Dylan Roof kills 9 blk ppl in church bc “Y’all are raping our white women”
No, I don’t take it lightly when wht men use “defense of wht femininity” to excuse their thirst blk blood.#LiamNeeson
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) February 5, 2019
Don’t tell us we’re overreacting to #LiamNeeson.
Black people have lived that history.
The Black town of Rosewood FL was destroyed and residents were murdered and lynched by a white mob seeking to kill Black people because a white lady LIED & said a Black man raped her.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) February 5, 2019
Others have stated that Neeson doesn’t deserve praise for correctly realising that his urge for violence against black individuals was deeply worrying.
“Whomst amongst us HASNT wanted to kill an innocent blk person before? But you know what? A white man learned something from this. And that’s the story here. Not the dangerous reality that blk ppl live in. But a white guy learning. Standing ovation. “- ppl defending Liam Neeson
— 🦦✨America Is Musty✨🦦 (@DragonflyJonez) February 5, 2019
If you would like to talk to a counsellor about rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, give the people over at 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732.