The red carpeted New York movie premiere for actor Liam Neeson’s new film Cold Pursuit was canceled in the wake of an interview in which Neeson said he wanted to kill a black man in response to the rape of a friend who said her attacker was black according to Raw Story.
Appearing on Good Morning America (GMA) Neeson said “I’m not a racist,” But he said did feel a “primal urge to lash out” after learning about the decades-old incident.
Neeson’s journey began when he told The Telegraph how he was able to capture the rage of his character by remembering the moment he learned about the rape of someone close to him many years ago.
Neeson had just come back from overseas to find out about the rape. “She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said to the The Telegraph. “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.”
He relayed that after he learned the assailant was black he roamed the streets for a week afterwards carrying with him a bat and brutal, racist thoughts, and how this taught him that violence and revenge do not work.
“There’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” he hesitantly but thoughtfully said.
Movie studio Lionsgate declined to comment but a source familiar with the matter told Raw Story that a red carpet, where movie stars pose for photos and speak with reporters, would be inappropriate.
GMA Anchor Robin Roberts was very candid in her back and forth with Neeson about racism. The actor said his takeaway from this experience was that there needs to be a larger discussion “to stomp out racism and bigotry.”
Neeson admitted to Roberts that the interview in The Independent that went viral Monday with his reaction to his friend’s rape was just “awful.”