Michelle Rodriguez sorry for 'insensitive' Neeson defense
Michelle Rodriguez is offering a mea culpa for her flippant previous comments defending Liam Neeson as he weathers a racism debacle.
On Saturday, the 40-year-old actress shared a post on Instagram apologizing for arguing that the Schindler’s List star couldn’t be a racist simply because he shared passionate kisses in Widows with co-star Viola Davis.
“To my friends and colleagues and my fans and community: I want to deeply apologize for my recent choice of words, and poor use of example. In a pressure-filled situation, I defended a friend in the wrong way,” she wrote. “I now realize how insensitive it was, and I had no intention of invoking such a terrible historical comparison. I have learned from this, and will grow from it. One Love, MRod.”
This controversy began on Neeson’s press tour for his new film, Cold Pursuit, when he discussed a time, decades ago, when a close female friend confided to him that she had been raped and that it had been a black man who’d victimized her. The Oscar nominee took to the streets, looking for vengeance.
"I went up and down areas with a cosh [bludgeon], hoping I'd be approached by somebody," he told The Independent of his reaction. "I'm ashamed to say that -- and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black b*****d' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could... kill him. ... It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I've never admitted that, and I'm saying it to a journalist. God forbid."
Soon after, Neeson’s comments were heavily condemned by the entertainment industry and beyond, prompting him to visit Good Morning America and respond to the backlash.
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"I’m not racist,” he stated flatly. “This was nearly 40 years ago, and because I was brought up in the North of Ireland and brought up in the Troubles, the ‘60s, ‘70s, and early ‘80s, there was a war going on in the North of Ireland, and I had acquaintances who were involved in the Troubles, the bigotry. One Catholic would be killed, the next day a Protestant would be killed. One Catholic pub would be bombed and then a Protestant pub bombed. I grew up around that, but was never part of it.”
While attending the amfAR Gala in New York on Wednesday, Rodriguez was asked about the racism scandal, prompting this comment, via Vanity Fair: “It’s all f**king bullsh*t. Liam Neeson is not a racist. Dude, have you watched Widows? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’ throat. You can’t call him a racist, ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue -- so deep down her throat. I don’t care how good of an actor you are."
"It’s all bullsh*t," she added. "Ignore it. He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies.”
Also, in the aftermath of the controversy, the red carpet for the New York City premiere of Neeson's Cold Pursuit was cancelled.