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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

Liam Neeson admits wanting to kill a black man after friend's rape

The actor made the comments in an interview to promote his new film

Liam Neeson caused a racism storm recently with his comments in an interview. AP
Liam Neeson caused a racism storm recently with his comments in an interview. AP

Taken star Liam Neeson has admitted he considered killing an innocent black person in retaliation for the rape of someone close to him.

The 66-year-old actor, who became an unlikely action hero later in his career, made the comments in an interview with British newspaper The Independent alongside co-star Tom Bateman for their coming film Cold Pursuit.

He said he had returned from a trip some time ago to find out about the assault and asked the woman if she knew the man who had attacked her.

Mr Neeson said his friend did not know the man, but said he was black.

Mr Neeson did not name the woman whose ordeal he felt the urge to avenge, but said it was someone close to him. He then described roaming the streets: "I went up and down areas with a cosh [a thick, baton-like stick], hoping I'd be approached by somebody — I'm ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some black [expletive] would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know?

“So that I could,” he went on, “kill him.”

The article was published on Monday, sparking an intense backlash online. Within the article Mr Neeson seemed to flag that he knew the story would not reflect well on him.

“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,” he said. "God forbid.” He also said he felt “ashamed”.

“I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing,” he said.

The paper later reached out to the actor's publicist to get further comment.

The Independent said the publicist declined.

Neither the director of Cold Pursuit nor its production companies — StudioCanal and Summit Entertainment — issued a comment.

Updated: February 5, 2019 01:15 PM

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