Liam Neeson has issued a new apology after a controversy in which he admitted that he had 40 years earlier prowled the streets to seek revenge after learning a close friend of his had been raped.
The actor said that he “missed the point” following his initial apology when he was accused of racism. Read his new statement below:
“Over the last several weeks, I have reflected on and spoken to a variety of people who were hurt by my impulsive recounting of a brutal rape of a dear female friend nearly 40 years ago and my unacceptable thoughts and actions at that time in response to this crime. The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am. In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponized and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage. What I failed to realize is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact my words have today. I was wrong to do what I did. I recognize that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive. I profoundly apologize.”
In February, while promoting his film “Cold Pursuit,” Neeson gave an interview to The Independent in which he recalled wanting to seek revenge on a “black bastard” and took to the streets of Ireland with a bludgeon in hand.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh [bludgeon], hoping I’d be approached by somebody,” he said. “I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week — hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”
In a follow-up interview with “GMA,” Neeson apologized for his remarks and stressed he was not a racist but did not deny that the incident occurred, saying that he truly believed he would’ve hurt someone if the situation arose. He added though that no violence ever occurred.
“I went out deliberately into black areas in this city looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence. And I did it for maybe four or five times until I caught myself on, and it really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help,” Neeson said. “I’m not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago.”
Neeson canceled a red carpet appearance and a spot on “The Late Show” following the interview.
Liam Neeson through the years
Liam Neeson through the years
Irish actor Liam Neeson, circa 1987. (Photo by Nancy R. Schiff/Getty Images)
Liam Neeson up against a brick wall with fear in a scene from the film 'Darkman', 1990. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Getty Images)
Actor Liam Neeson on a courtroom scene from the thriller 'Under Suspicion', 1991. (Photo by Keith Hamshere/Getty Images)
Actress Natasha Richardson (L) and actor Liam Neeson arrive at the Tony Awards in New York June 6, 1993. Richardson was nominated for the award for leading actress in "Anna Christie" and Neeson for leading actor in the same play. REUTERS/Peter Morgan(UNITED STATES ENTERTAINMENT OBITUARY)
ARGENTINA - AUGUST 01: ****EXCLUSIVE**** Actor Liam Neeson as O - Schindler in S.Spielberg's film in Argentina on August 01, 1993. (Photo by Rafael WOLLMANN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
October 1995. (Photo by Thomas & Thomas/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
The director and stars of the new Warner Bros. film "Michael Collins" pose together at the film's premiere October 8 in Beverly Hills. Shown (L-R) are director Neil Jordan, and actors Liam Neeson and Aidan Quinn. The film tells the real life story of Irish patriot Michael Collins, portrayed by Neeson, and his efforts to create a free and peaceful country.
Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson poses for photographs after receiving
his Order for the Britsh Empire (OBE) presented to him by Britain's
Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, in London, October 29, 2002.
Neeson has starred in movies such as Star Wars and Schindler's List.
Actor Liam Neeson and his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, pose for photographers as they arrive at the 30th annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards dinner in Los Angeles January 13, 2005. Neeson won the association's best actor award for his role in the film "Kinsey" in which he portrayed sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey REUTERS/Fred Prouser FSP
Irish actor Liam Neeson (L) talks to a fan while signing autographs at the red carpet premier of his new film "Breakfast on Pluto" at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 10, 2005. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski JPM/PN
Actress Natasha Richardson looks at her husband Liam Neeson as they arrive for the Conde Nast Traveler's annual readers choice award show in New York City October 16, 2006. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES)
Irish actor Liam Neeson poses for a portrait while promoting the film "Five Minutes of Heaven" at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 20, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Actor Liam Neeson arrives for a screening of the film "Five Minutes of Heaven" in New York August 11, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES ENTERTAINMENT)
Cast member Liam Neeson signs autographs at the premiere of "The A-Team" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 3, 2010. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 11. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Cast member Liam Neeson poses on the red carpet before at a German preview of "The A-Team" at a cinema in Berlin July 29, 2010. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (GERMANY - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Cast member Liam Neeson arrives for the premiere of the film "The Next Three Days" in New York November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT)