Liam Neeson Addresses Backlash Over Jarring Story

'I'm not a racist,' actor says on 'Good Morning America'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2019 9:40 AM CST
Liam Neeson in a 2016 photo.   (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, file)

(Newser) – Liam Neeson appeared on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday to address the backlash over a disturbing story he told about his younger days. "I'm not a racist," Neeson told host Robin Roberts. The 66-year-old actor confirmed that nearly four decades ago, a friend of his was raped by a black man, prompting him to walk the streets looking for a black man to attack in retaliation. "I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon," he said. "It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help, I went to a priest." Neeson, however, said it wasn't about race—if his friend's attacker was white, he would have sought a white man to attack.

"If she'd have said [the rapist was] Irish, or a Scot, or a Brit, or a Lithuanian, [it] would have had the same effect," he said, per Fox News. "I was trying to show honor [and] stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion. ... Luckily no violence occurred, ever." Neeson, who called the experience a "learning curve," told the original story while plugging his new movie, Cold Pursuit, which involves revenge. He was making the point that he could relate. "God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions," he told Roberts. (Read more Liam Neeson stories.)

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