Liam Neeson 'made it worse' addressing racism outcry in Good Morning America interview
The actor spoke with Good Morning America about remarks he made in an interview with The Independent
The world is reacting to Liam Neeson’s follow-up interview after telling The Independent he once roamed the streets with a cosh, wanting to kill a “black bastard” after someone close to him was raped years ago.
Neeson insisted he is not racist during the segment on Good Morning America that saw him interviewed by co-host Robin Roberts. He was scheduled to be on the show talking about new film Cold Pursuit and honoured the booking despite receiving devastating backlash for his remarks the day before.
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Speaking to the US breakfast show, Neeson said: “The lady journalist was asking me how do you tap into [his character's quest for revenge] and I remembered an incident... where a very dear friend of mine was brutally raped and I was out of the country and when I came back, she told me about this situation.”
He told Roberts that he sought help from a priest after hoping to be "set upon" by a black man. Neeson added: "If she’d have said a Brit, a Scot, a Lithuanian I would have reacted the same. I was trying to show honour and stand up for my friend in this medieval fashion."
Reactions on social media range from the disgusted to the supportive. Many felt that Roberts ruined her chance to fully grill Neeson on the topic, while others felt that Neeson "made it worse". One Twitter user felt that Neeson was being lured into saying something that could potentially be taken out of context.
Neeson initially shared the personal story with The Independent after being asked to give more insight into his Cold Pursuit character Nels Coxman’s need for revenge after his son is killed by a drug gang. Following the interview’s publication, there was outrage online, with social media users accusing Neeson of racism.
American film producer Tariq Nasheed said: “Keep in mind that Liam Neeson didn’t say he just has some ‘revenge fantasy’. He actually went out for a week LOOKING for a black person to kill, but he couldn’t find one.”
One Twitter user wrote: “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.
“Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understanding that there may not be repercussions.
Actor Terry Crews, former American football player who stars in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, wrote on social media: “Reminds me of a time I got provoked by a rich white guy I didn’t know. Hoping I would do something.”