In a stunning new interview, actor Liam Neeson ashamedly confessed he once sought revenge for a loved one’s rape by roaming the streets, searching for a random black person to murder.
The Oscar-nominated lead of “Schindler’s List,” who became a bankable action star with the 2008 revenge thriller “Taken,” revealed his admittedly “horrible,” racist reaction in an interview with the Independent.
“There’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” he said in the interview meant to promote his latest movie, “Cold Pursuit,” about a man avenging his son’s slaying.
He said the incident happened many years ago after he returned from an overseas trip and learned of the sexual assault.
“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson told the British news outlet. “But 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, 66, then described his disturbing and racist reaction.
“I went 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,” he said, according to the Independent.
“It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that. She would say, ‘Where are you going?’ and I would say, ‘I’m just going out for a walk.’ You know? ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘No no, nothing’s wrong,’” he recalled.
Neeson didn’t name the rape victim and withheld details to protect her identity, according to the report.
“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. …And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid,” he said.
“Holy sh–,” responded Tom Bateman, his co-star in “Cold Pursuit,” who was seated beside him for the interview.
“It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f–k are you doing?’” Neeson recalled.
The actor seemed aware during the interview that he made a very distressing disclosure, according to the Independent.
He reportedly went on to explain that growing up in Northern Ireland during a period of intense political unrest, he was fueled by the misguided belief indiscriminate violence was a reasonable response.
“I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike,” he said, “and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland’s proof of that. All this stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that. But that primal need, I understand,” he said.
Neeson’s comments came after the actor has made similarly startling declarations in other media interviews.
Speaking on Ireland’s “The Late Late Show” last year, he voiced his concern the #MeToo movement was becoming a “witch hunt.”
And speaking to the Guardian to promote his 2014 move “Non-Stop,” the actor was frank yet again.
“We all racial-profile. It’s a horrible thing to admit to but we all do it. I know I do,” he said.
Reaction to Neeson’s latest admission was swift on Monday.
Several Twitter users said the fact Neeson was ever considering killing an innocent black person was enough to “cancel” him. Others said they appreciated his honesty.