The star of the Taken movies is probably at this moment wishing words could be taken back–specifically, his own words. Sadly, they cannot.
If that were possible, several unsuspecting Twitterers just trying to get through their Monday morning would not have been subjected to a shocking, and shockingly unnecessary, revelation from Liam Neeson’s interview with the British newspaper The Independent. At a recent press junket for his new movie, Cold Pursuit, the actor recounted, against seemingly all good sense, a time in which he found out a loved one had been raped and how he responded by setting out for revenge. Kind of. Instead of making sure the authorities had every possible resource to bring the rapist to justice, Neeson had other plans–plans he would have done very well to keep to himself forever.
“My immediate reaction was,” he begins, “I asked, did she know who it was? No. ‘What color were they?’ She said it was a black person. I went up and down areas with a cosh [a heavy stick], hoping I’d be approached by somebody–I’m ashamed to say that—and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could—kill him.”
No, Liam Neeson, no! All the actor had to do was promote Cold Pursuit, which amazingly isn’t about two animated snow dogs falling in love during the Iditarod. Instead, now a lot of people are wondering why the actor put so much stock into race as the main component of what would make someone a violent sex criminal–and wonder how else race figures into his character assessment and judgment. Needless to stay, it was a bizarre thing to admit, unprompted, at the dawn of Black History Month, of all times.
Although another editor at The Independent, a woman of color, wrote a nuanced response op-ed about what people can learn from Neeson’s obliviousness, the Twittersphere is taking the more direct approach of alternately roasting the actor, taking him to task, or calling for his cancelation. Here is just a smattering of some of the more popular response tweets:
(Liam Neeson is promoting TAKEN 5)
Liam Neeson: In the mid '90s I operated as a serial arsonist in and around the London metropolitan area and was never caught.
— Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) February 4, 2019
Liam Neeson is definitely a reminder that there are folks who walk around hoping to provoke Black people so they can kill us.
A lot of them are in law enforcement and politics.
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) February 4, 2019
liam neeson's publicist: https://t.co/WJe9jC0wM7
— hunter harris (@hunteryharris) February 4, 2019
Black People: “You know, we really like Liam Neeson.”
Liam Neeson: “Let me fuck that up right quick.”
— X (@XLNB) February 4, 2019
Liam Neeson is today’s example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 4, 2019
Who knew that his particular set of skills included self-immolation? Liam Neeson Apology Watch begins… now, as we await the actor’s scheduled appearance on the February 8 episode of Late Show with Stephen Colbert.