Liam Neeson breaks silence on racist remarks: ‘I’m not a racist’

Cape Town - Liam Neeson has broken his silence for the first time since admitting he once set out to carry out a “racist revenge attack” after someone close to him was raped.

The actor has been facing major backlash after he made comments in an interview, which was published in The Independent, while promoting his new film, Cold Pursuit.  

The 66-year-old had said he walked the streets with a weapon for a week around 40 years ago, hoping to take out his anger after someone close to him was raped by a black man.

Liam said he "went up and down the 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 I could . . . kill him."

The actor’s comments caused a media frenzy, with many branding him a racist.

On Tuesday the actor told Good Morning America he regrets once contemplating doing something like that.

Explaining how the topic came about, the Taken star said: “We were doing a press junket [for Cold Pursuit] and the topic of the film is revenge; it’s a dark comedy too.

“The lady journalist was asking me how I tap into that and I remembered an incident nearly 40 years ago where a very dear friend of mine was brutally raped.

“I had never felt this feeling before which was a primal urge to lash out.”

"I'm not racist," Liam said. "This was nearly 40 years ago."

When asked if he’d have had the same reaction if the attacker was a different race, Liam replied: “Definitely.”

“If she’d have said an Irish, Scot, Brit I know I would’ve felt the same way. I was trying to show honour and stand up for my dear friend in this medieval fashion.”

Liam also added that he wanted his original comments to start a wider conversation about racism.

"We all pretend we're all politically correct in this country [the US] . . . in mine too. You sometimes just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry and it's there."

According to the Metro, the star also revealed he did “seek help” at the time by speaking to a priest and “power walking”.

Sources: CNN, BBC, Metro