A word of caution about the internet- it never forgets. The internet is notorious for taking a small piece of information and spinning it into viral headlines, and no one can predict exactly what will pique its interest next. Within the recent political climate America has become divided, quick to judge one another and voice the verdict to all of our followers.
In an interview with the British publication The Independent, Liam Neeson was recorded making racist remarks towards black people. Neeson was relaying back a story in which his close friend was raped by an unknown black assailant and was recorded saying, “I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody,” using a British term that describes a clublike weapon. “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.”
When the interview was released on Monday the internet was immediately enraged and the interview skyrocketed to the top of trending. His comments make me immediately question his logic but factoring in the emotional response linked to this statement it becomes more understandable, as Neeson was intending to lash his anger out towards the rapist and not the black community as a whole. Neeson continued the interview saying, “She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way, but my immediate reaction was, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person.”
After the backlash from these racist comments surfaced and demanded an explanation, Neeson gave several more interviews to save face and promote his newest movie, “Cold Pursuit”. In each interview he has staunchly asserted that his anger was not towards black people but towards rapists in general, telling ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he is not racist, but had a “primal urge to lash out.”
Though these are Neeson’s words to explain himself now, he said that at the time of the rape he “went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence.” Pairing this statement with his previous “black bastard” comments many people have become disturbed by Neeson’s presence in Hollywood. As of only a few hours before the premiere of Neeson’s new movie “Cold Pursuit”, the said premiere was cancelled due to the controversy surrounding the star. Organizers of the New York red carpet premiere cancelled all photo and interviews at the screening.
Since Monday when the original fateful interview with The Independent went viral, the consequences Neeson has experienced due to his words seem to be beyond what he could have foreseen when he gave the interview, as he initially just wanted to start a wider conversation about racism.
Well, Liam, looks like you got what you came for.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.