Liam Neeson film premiere for 'Cold Pursuit' cancelled amid racism row

Neeson has been embroiled in controversy for his remarks to The Independent that he wanted to indiscriminantly kill a black man some 40 years ago after learning a friend had been raped

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 05 February 2019 17:28
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Liam Neeson: 'I'm not racist'

The premiere for actor Liam Neeson’s latest film has been abruptly cancelled amid the fallout from an interview in which he said he roamed the streets decades ago in search of a black person to kill.

Organisers for the premiere of the film Cold Pursuit announced the cancellation on Tuesday, just hours before its scheduled start.

Neeson, who detailed to The Independent wanting to indiscriminantly kill a “black bastard” after someone close to him they were raped years ago, had addressed the issue during an interview on Good Morning America on Tuesday, saying that he is not racist.

During that interview on Tuesday, Neeson said that he had discussed the issue because racism and bigotry exist. He said during the interview with The Independent published on Monday that he had wandered the streets with a cosh roughly 40 years ago after someone close to him said they were raped by a black individual, but not someone who they knew.

:: Read the original, exclusive interview that started a global conversation

In his interview on Good Morning America, the 66-year-old actor said that he had wandered the streets looking for a black person to kill as a result of a "primal urge to lash out". He said that he then sought help from a priest and friends when he realized what he was doing.

"“For some nights I deliberately went into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence. I did it for maybe four or five times until I caught myself on. It really shocked me — this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me,” Neeson said during his GMA interview.

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“I did seek help. I went to a priest,” he said. “I had two really good friends that I talked to, and believe it or not, power walking. Two hours every day… to get rid of this. I'm not racist".

Neeson's newest film was slated for wide release on 8 February. His comments to The Independent came during press availability to promote his work.

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