'So I could kill some ‘black bastard’: Liam Neeson slammed for racist revenge fantasy
Neeson, 66, is best known to modern moviegoers for his roles in revenge-driven action films, starting with 2009’s Taken. His latest release in the genre is Cold Pursuit. In an interview with the Independent to promote the film, Neeson confessed to a real-live revenge fantasy: After someone close to him was raped by what she described as “a black person,” Neeson said he would go out spoiling for a fight, with murder on his mind.
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 ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could… kill him.
Three weeks ago, I sat with Liam Neeson for a press junket. He shared a startling story with me, for the first time. This is the story of that story. https://t.co/kvKfQdTdAK— Clémence Michallon (@Clemence_Mcl) February 4, 2019
Raised in Northern Ireland during the decades of brutal conflict between the Catholic and Protestant Irish, Neeson said he understood the primal need for revenge that drives people, but added that this incident made him realize it does not work.
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.
By this point, however, nobody was interested in explanations – only righteous indignation. Just like that, Neeson’s “very particular set of skills” – from acting to activism in favor of gun control and abortion – was forgotten, leaving in place only the furious cry of “RACIST!”
Social media reactions ranged from red-hot serious outrage:
So Liam Neeson’s response to a loved one being raped was to:— rocket juju (@juliacraven) February 4, 2019
1. Ask the race of the assailant, which tells us his racism was deep rooted before the assault.
2. Roam through (presumably) black neighborhoods in hopes of provoking a black person so that he could murder them. pic.twitter.com/5C4PBWVSWY
Liam Neeson is definitely a reminder that there are folks who walk around hoping to provoke Black people so they can kill us.— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) February 4, 2019
A lot of them are in law enforcement and politics.
Liam Neeson being ready to take any Black life over what one person allegedly did just shows how meaningless and inconsequential black lives are to some.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) February 4, 2019
Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understating that there may not be repercussions.
*Sees Liam Neeson is trending— Jim LaChapelle (@TVGuyJBL) February 4, 2019
"I hope he's not dead!"
*Finds out why Liam Neeson is trending pic.twitter.com/h1ez56yHSE
Oh, look, Liam Neeson’s tren— pic.twitter.com/ehN8wJ7Gmb— MIKILL PANE (@MikillPane) February 4, 2019
The interviewer’s effort to contextualize the remarks – by seeking comment from a psychologist and a sexual assault educator – was likewise condemned as trivializing racism.
Well, I've seen it all now. Liam Neeson admitted to going around trying to find a black person to kill because someone he was close to got raped by a black person, and the journalist spoke to a psychologist to help contextualise his racism and included it in the article? WILD.— Elizabeth Pears (@BizPears) February 4, 2019
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