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.)