- Liam Neeson recently discussed an experience with wanting revenge during an interview with The Independent.
- The action star told the publication that “some time ago,” a friend told him that she was raped by a black man.
- Neeson said after that, he carried a weapon hoping to be approached by a ‘black b——‘ so he could kill him, according to The Independent.
- Neeson said he had never told anyone about that experience and said he “did learn a lesson from it.”
Liam Neeson recently told a self-described “awful” and “horrible” story during an interview with The Independent, apparently intending to warn against the “primal” violence of revenge.
Neeson revealed that – when he was younger, but at an unspecified age – his friend told him that she was raped.
“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way. But my immediate reaction was,” he said, pausing. “I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.”
“I went up and down areas with a cosh,” he continued, using a British term for a weapon that can bludgeon, “hoping I’d be approached by somebody. 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?” he said, using air quotes around the offensive term. “So that I could kill him.”
Neeson said he had these thoughts for “a week, maybe a week and a half.” The “Taken” actor also said he had never told anyone about that experience, but he “did learn a lesson from it.”
“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” he said. “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f— are you doing,’ you know?”
Neeson went on to discuss growing up in Northern Ireland with the Troubles, a guerrilla war that left about 3,600 dead, according to the New York Times.
“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, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland’s proof of that,” Neeson said. “All this stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand.”
The interview took place during a press junket for Neeson’s newest film “Cold Pursuit,” in which he plays a father whose son is killed by a drug gang.
Lasana Harris, an associate professor of experimental psychology at University College Londo, told The Independent that violent incidents, such as rape, can affect or shape a person’s thoughts on a specific community.
“And this is not just relevant to race,” writes The Independent’s Clémence Michallon. “For example, the thoughts one might harbour about young people, or old people as well as black people … Our minds can generalize a negative experience with a person by categorising them in a way that may be flawed.”
Harris also noted, however, that black people are disproportionately characterised as violent; that racist bias can lead to “black people being perceived as perpetrators of sexual assault.”
Neeson declined to discuss the experience further when contacted by The Independent weeks later. Representatives for Neeson didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, you can visit RAINN or call its hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member.
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