Liam Neeson Says "I'm Not Racist" Following Interview Backlash

Liam Neeson Says "I'm Not Racist" Following Interview Backlash
Days before his Cold Pursuit film hits theatres, Liam Neeson started a PR firestorm through the wild admission of wanting to commit a racist murder in reaction to the rape of someone close to him. Predictably, the actor is now being given every opportunity to clarify his comments, beginning with a pair of morning show appearances on American television.

In conversation with Robin Roberts this morning, Neeson reiterated the story of his desire for revenge and the ensuing realization of how horrible his thought process was. 

"It really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me," Neeson recalled. "I did seek help. I went to a priest, for my confession… I had two very, very good friends that I talked to. And believe it or not, power walking, two hours every day, to get rid of this."

In an interview with the Independent published yesterday (February 4), Neeson recalled learning that someone close to him had been allegedly raped by a black man, leading him to go "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."

Neeson admitted in the Independent interview that "it was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that," and expressed the same sentiment on Good Morning America

"I'm not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago," he said on the morning show, again referring to his upbringing in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

When asked if he would have reacted similarly had the alleged rapist not been a black man, Neeson responded, "Oh, definitely. If she had said an Irish, or a Scot, or a Brit, or a Lithuanian, I know I would have had the same effect. I was trying to… show honour to my, stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion. And I'm a fairly intelligent guy, that's why it kind of shocked me when I came down to earth after having these horrible feelings. Luckily no violence occurred, ever. Thanks be to God."

Neeson also appeared on Live with Kelly and Ryan, where he told the hosts, "I just feel we need to be honest. I grew up in a society where there was a lot of bigotry… So when I conjured it myself, I just needed to be honest. Rather than backtrack and say, 'I didn't say that, I didn't mean that.'"

You can watch both of Neeson's appearances in the players below.