Liam Neeson appeared on Good Morning America on February 5th to clarify his story about seeking revenge against a man who “brutally raped” a dear friend of his. Neeson’s appearance on Good Morning America comes after many called for Neeson to be “cancelled.”
Neeson recalled much of the story as he did in The Independent on Good Morning America. He begins by describing why he brought up this event from his past, “We were doing a press junket. The topic of our film is revenge. It’s a dark comedy too, but it’s based as revenge. The lady journalist was asking me how do you tap into that. I remembered an incident nearly 40 years ago where a very dear friend of mine was brutally raped and I was out of the country and when I came back she told me about this.” Neeson continues, “She handled the situation herself and her rapist, incredibly bravely.”
He goes on to describe the emotions he felt after hearing this from his friend, “I had never felt this feeling before, which was a primal urge to lash out.”
Liam Neeson then goes on to describe what he did after finding out his friend had been brutally raped, “I asked her, ‘Did you know the person? It was a man?’ ‘No.’ ‘His race?’ She said it was a black man. I thought okay. And then after that there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in this city looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence, and I did it for say maybe 4 or 5 times until I caught myself on.”
Neeson would then explain that he realized what he was doing wrong and he sought help even discussing it with his priest and two of his friend, “It really shocked me this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help. I went to a priest. He heard my confession. I was reared Catholic. And two very, very, very good friends I talked to. And believe it or not power walking, two hours every day. To get rid of this. I’m not racist.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 5, 2019
As with his interview with The Independent, Neeson recalls his childhood growing up in The Troubles, “This was nearly 40 years ago. I was brought up in the North of Ireland and brought up in The Troubles. The 60s, 70s, and early 80s.” Neeson explains The Troubles, “There was a war going on in the north of Ireland. I had acquaintances who were involved in The Troubles. The bigotry. One Catholic would be killed the next day a Protestant would be killed. One Catholic pub would be bombed, a Protestant pub would be bombed. I grew up surrounded by that, but I was never part of it.”
Robin Roberts then asks Neeson if he asked his friend about the man’s height and weight. Neeson explains that he did, “I did actually. I asked all those questions too. But I did ask about race.” Neeson also admits that he would have had the same reaction regardless of the race of man, “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 honor, to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible Medieval fashion. I’m a fairly intelligent guy and that’s why it kind of shocked me when it came down to Earth after having these horrible feelings. Luckily, no violence occurred ever. Thanks be to God.”
Neeson was then asked if he would have committed violence if he had been set upon. He indicated he would, “Yes. Yes. That was my feeling that I did want to lash out. Yes. Because my friend was brutally raped and I thought I was defending her honor, and I admit that., and it’s a learning curve.”
Neeson that expresses that he wants people to talk and open up, “To talk and open up. To talk about these things. We all pretend we are all politically correct. In this country and it’s the same in my own country too. Sometimes you just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry. And it’s there. I remember shooting Schindler’s list in Poland 25 years ago, 26 years ago almost and hearing remarks from drivers who were taking us to the set, thinking to myself ‘Am I hearing this right?’ This guy is making anti-Jewish comments to me who is playing Oskar Schindler in the back of the car. It happened on several times and sometimes driving to the set we would swastika signs painted on walls knowing that we were being driven past this area to go to set.”
What do you make of Liam Neeson’s most recent comments? Do you understand where he’s coming from? Do you think he should be cancelled?
Liam Neeson will appear in Cold Pursuit which hits theaters on February 8, 2019.