Liam Neeson has released an apology statement for the remarks he made last month about his intention to commit a hate crime decades ago in response to a rape incident that happened to a friend.
“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,” he said in a statement.
In early February, Neeson told the British paper, The Independent, that he wanted to “kill some Black bastard” years ago when he found out a friend had been brutally raped. The backlash to the racist comment was immediate, and Neeson acknowledged that he was wrong in his apology.
“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,” he said. “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.”
He added: “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.”
Neeson initially tried to apologize and explain himself soon after the incident during a sit down with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, emphasizing that he was not a racist.
“It was horrible, horrible when I think back, that I did that,” Neeson told Robin Roberts. “It’s awful, but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f-ck are you doing?’”
“It really shocked me: this primal urge that I had. It shocked me and hurt me,” he added, claiming he would have felt the same if his friend had been attacked by an Irish, Scottish, or Lithuanian man. “I was trying to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion.”