Liam Neeson has officially responded to the backlash against his story about revenge, saying, "I'm not racist."
During a conversation with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, Neeson recalled the story that he recently came under fire for, which involved him admitting to hunting down a black man who allegedly raped a close female friend of his.
"If she had said an Irish or a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian I would - I know I would - have had the same effect. I was trying to show honour, to stand up for my dear friend in this terribly medieval fashion," Neeson explained to Roberts.
Neeson's controversial comments came earlier this week while the actor was speaking with The Independent for a press interview regarding his upcoming film Cold Pursuit.
"There's something primal -- God forbid you've ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions. I'll tell you a story, this is true," Neeson began, then going on to recount the story and sharing that he had been overseas when the alleged crime took place.
"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 color were they?' She said it was a black person," he continued
"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody," Neeson went on to say. "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."
He later explained that he did this for a week-and-a-half before realizing the error in his thinking. "When I eventually thought, 'What the f–k are you doing?' "0comments
"I come from a society -- I grew up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles -- and, you know, I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge," Neeson added. "But it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland's proof of that. All this stuff that's happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand."
Many have been critical of Neeson's comments, but have cited the circumstance as something that happens more often than some realize, with podcast host and filmmaker Adam Best tweeting, "Liam Neeson’s confession might sound shocking, but that kind of thing happens all the time in America. In states like Florida it’s even covered by the insane Stand Your Ground law. Just ask the families of Markeis McGlockton and Trayvon Martin."