Liam Neeson Premiere Called Off Amid Backlash

Comments on race might have killed his career
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2019 1:00 AM CST
Red Carpet Premiere of Neeson Movie Canceled
This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York.   (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

The New York premiere of Liam Neeson's latest movie was abruptly called off Tuesday night amid a backlash to the actor's disturbing admission in an interview published Monday—and some observers think his entire career might be over. Lionsgate studio had no comment on the cancellation of the Cold Pursuit premiere, but sources tell Variety that it was a response to the uproar over Neeson's admission that he roamed the streets wanting to kill a black person—any black person—to avenge a friend's rape nearly 40 years ago. In a Good Morning America appearance Tuesday, Neeson, who grew up in Northern Ireland, argued that he is not a racist and said he would have had a similar reaction if his friend's attacker had been British or Irish.

Premiere organizers announced hours after Neeson's TV appearance that interviews and photo-ops for Cold Pursuit—in which Neeson plays a father trying to avenge his son's death—were being called off, the AP reports. The movie opens in cinemas across America on Friday, though the future of Neeson's movie career is unclear. Playwright Bonnie Greer tells the BBC that the story of his racist quest for revenge "probably put paid to his career," and he "needs to take a rest for a while." "The fact he doesn't understand what he's doing or what he's done is actually almost scarier than what he said," she says. Neeson said Tuesday that he was ashamed of his behavior and had sought help from a priest at the time. (Read more Liam Neeson stories.)

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