A journalist who interviewed actor Liam Neeson was shocked when he confessed to wanting to kill a Black man as revenge for the rape of a loved one. But the story took a strange twist when Neeson told her he would kill her if she misquoted him.
The 66-year-old Irish star was promoting his new movie Cold Pursuit at a press junket where he was interviewed by The Independent's reporter Clemence Michallon.
He described why he identified with his movie character who is out to avenge the death of his son.
Neeson said he was ashamed by his "medieval" response to a female friend telling him she'd been raped by a Black man. He said he wandered the streets with a crowbar looking for any "black bastard" who would fight him so he could kill him.
Speaking on U.K. breakfast TV show Good Morning Britain, Clemence said she was surprised by the star's “shocking" revelations.
"The gravity of what he was saying immediately struck me," she told hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. She added that she recorded the interview on tape.
"It was a matter of playing that tape over and over again to myself and going back to his team, trying to get more comments, which they've declined that opportunity."
Her interview with Neeson took a strange twist when the actor joked that he would hunt her down and kill her like his CIA agent character in the Taken film franchises.
"As the interview was wrapping up, he asked me if I was going to use that story, if I would be very careful," Clemence recalled. "I said yes, because I'm always very careful, especially when I'm doing my work as a journalist. Then he sort of switched to his actor voice, and he said: 'I have a very specific set of skills and I will find you and I will kill you.' It was, in his mind, clearly a joke. Whether or not that was appropriate remains to be determined. But he said, 'I will find you'. He said that to me in the same voice."
In a chat with Good Morning America anchorwoman Robin Roberts on Tuesday, Neeson insisted he is not racist.
"The lady journalist was asking me how I tap into that and I remembered an incident nearly 40 years ago where a very dear friend of mine was brutally raped," he said.
Neeson continued by saying he felt a "primal rage" to "lash out" and he wandered areas where he knew Black men were looking to pick fights with white men during a time when racial tensions were high.
He said his rage was not motivated by racial prejudice, but by a need for revenge.
"If she'd have said a Brit, a Scot, a Lithuanian I would have reacted the same," he added. "I was trying to show honor, to stand up for my friend in this terrible medieval fashion. I'm a fairly intelligent guy and that's why it shocked me."
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