Nearly two months ago during “Cold Pursuit” press, Liam Neeson became the subject of controversy for his remarks in an interview in which he discussed the film’s theme of revenge and how it pertained to an incident in his youth.
Neeson revealed a story from his youth in which he set out to indiscriminately get into a fight and potentially kill a black man after learning his good friend was brutally raped, and how those actions utterly mortified him at the time.
In the wake of that interview, backlash against Neeson accusing the actor of racism was swift with Neeson offering subsequent interviews and apologies to further explain the story including his motivation being revenge, not race and how the man’s skin color was just one of several identifying characteristics described to him by his friend.
The story has since died right down, people moving on to other things, but Neeson is obviously still being affected by it as he’s now offered a new apology for the remarks:
“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.”
The comments and the reaction to them has spurred talk about our current cultural zeitgeist where offering honest and candid answers on the record is becoming perilous as backlashes have been triggered by throwaway remarks and ill-timed words without context.