Liam Neeson said he is “not a racist” during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America today, apologizing for remarks he made recalling a period in his life when, angered over the rape of a friend, he admitted a desire to “unleash physical violence” against black men.
“I’m not a racist,” Neeson said on GMA today, but explained that he felt a “primal urge to lash out” after learning about the decades-old incident.
“I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon,” he said, adding that he did it four or five times. “It shocked me and it hurt me … I did seek help, I went to a priest.” He also said power walking helped him get over his anger.
“Luckily no violence occurred,” he said. He said he likely would have attacked and possibly killed a man if confronted. Neeson explained that if his female friend had described her attacker as white he would have searched for someone who fit that description.
Neeson made the original stunning comments during a recent interview about his new movie Cold Pursuit. The interview went viral yesterday.
In his interview with GMA anchor Robin Roberts, Neeson described his reaction to the rape as “awful.” He ascribed his reaction part to having grown up during the violent Troubles of Northern Ireland.
“God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” he said, adding that “my immediate reaction was … I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person.”
Neeson had said he’d walk the streets with a large stick “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. I’m ashamed to say that and I did it for maybe a week.”
Watch Neeson’s GMA appearance above.