Liam Neeson, the 66-year-old Irish movie star, has been attempting to defend himself this week after published comments in which he confessed to fantasizing about murdering any random black man after learning that a close friend had been raped. As Inquisitr reported, Neeson related the anecdote in a promotional interview to support his new revenge thriller Cold Pursuit, saying that one of the first questions to his friend about her attackers were, “What color were they?”
After the women answered that the assailant was a black person, Neeson said that he carried a “cosh” — that is, a blunt instrument used as a weapon — “hoping some ‘black b*****d’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”
In the fallout from the comments, the red-carpet premiere of Cold Pursuit was canceled, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert canceled Neeson as a guest, according to the BBC, and social media users have waged an online campaign for Neeson to be “digitally removed” from his upcoming film Men In Black:International, MovieWeb reports.
Neeson appeared Tuesday on the ABC program Good Morning America to defend himself, as Inquisitr reported, saying that he is “not a racist,” and that his reaction to his friend’s account would have been the same regardless of the assailant’s ethnicity or race.
But in an article published online Thursday by Vanity Fair magazine, Neeson also received support, albeit in somewhat bizarre fashion, from his co-star in the recent film Widows, actress Michelle Rodriguez, who said that Liam’s enthusiastic “make out” scene with actress Viola Davis proves that Neeson cannot be racist.
Davis, 53, is the first and, to date, only black actress to win all three major acting awards — an Oscar, Emmy, and a Tony Award, according to Variety.
“It’s all f*****g bulls***. Liam Neeson is not a racist,” Rodriguez is quoted by the magazine as saying. “Dude, have you watched Widows? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’s throat. You can’t call him a racist ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue, so deep down her throat.”
Davis has not yet commented publicly on the Neeson controversy, but View co-host Whoopi Goldberg also defended Neeson, as Inquisitr reported, saying, “I’ve been around a lot of real bigots. I can say this man is not one.”
Goldberg is the only black actress to win an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and a Grammy award — but Goldberg’s Tony award came as a producer, not for an acting role, leaving Davis as the only black actress to win the “triple crown” for acting, according to the Cut.