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4 Feb, 2019 19:35

'So I could kill some ‘black bastard’: Liam Neeson slammed for racist revenge fantasy

'So I could kill some ‘black bastard’: Liam Neeson slammed for racist revenge fantasy

Advertising his newest revenge thriller, actor Liam Neeson made a candid admission about his own almost-rampage years ago – and set the internet on fire with accusations of racism and bigotry.

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.

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:

To memes:

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.

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