Liam Neeson has apologised for his 2019 racism controversy.
Neeson, 69, previously sparked off a controversy when he confessed that he once walked the streets looking to kill a “black b******” after someone close to him was raped many years ago, and he now addressed the PR fiasco head-on during a cameo appearance in the May 5 episode of the Emmy-winning dramedy Atlanta.
In a scene with Brian Tyree Henry’s character Paper Boi, he said: “You might’ve heard or read about my transgression — you know, what I said about what I wanted to do to a black guy. Any black guy, when I was a younger man. A friend of mine had been raped, and I acted out of anger.”
Neeson admitted to being frightened by his own attitude at the time, and he also apologised to anyone he offended.
He explained: “I look back, man, it honestly frightens me. I thought people, knowing who I once was, [that it would] would make clear who I am, who I’ve become.
“But, with all that being said … I am sorry. I apologise if I hurt people.”
In 2019, Neeson recalled loitering outside a pub wanting to murder a black person after a friend of his was raped.
He made the comments while he was promoting the thriller Cold Pursuit, explaining how he related to his on-screen character.
He said: “She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way.
“But my immediate reaction was … I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.
“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 b******’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could … kill him.”
The Atlanta cameo isn’t the first time Neeson has apologised for his controversial comments. In 2019, in a statement, he said, “The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am.
“In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponized and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage.”
He later told Good Morning America host Robin Roberts that he is “not a racist” and would have searched for any male fitting the description his friend told him.
“If she’d have said an Irish, or a Scott, or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know [it] would’ve had the same effect,” Neeson said. “I was trying to show honor — to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion…It was a learning curve.”