“There’s something primal — God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” the Taken star, 66, told The Independent in an interview published on Monday, February 4.
The actor recalled how he once came back from overseas to find that a woman who was very close to him was raped by “a black person.” While the woman “handled the situation … in the most extraordinary way,” he didn’t know how to deal with his anger.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh [crowbar], hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that,” Neeson explained. “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.”
The Oscar nominee admitted that he did this for about a “week and a half” before he realized what he was doing was terribly wrong. “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” he said.
Neeson added: “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f—k are you doing,’ you know? … I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and [his hometown of] Northern Ireland is proof of that. All this stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand.”
The Widows actor’s admission has made him the subject of backlash on social media. “Liam Neeson is 100% cancelled,” on Twitter user wrote, while another noted, “Wow so Liam Neeson is f—king cancelled. So if the guy was white you’d go stalking the streets to find a random, unrelated white person to kill? Scumbag.”
The actor’s latest movie, Cold Pursuit, follows a man (played by Neeson) who goes on a “quest for revenge against a psychotic drug lord” after his son’s mysterious death.
Us Weekly has reached out to Neeson’s rep for comment.
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