Actor Liam Neeson was recently promoting his newest film, Cold Pursuit. The purpose of his interview on Monday was to solely speak about his movie. However, the actor shared a bit of disturbing information. The original interview can be found in the Independent Culture. In the interview, Liam tries to explain how his character from Cold Pursuit, turns to anger.
He stated “there’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions...I’ll tell you a story. This is true.” He then shares that about 40 years ago, a close friend of his shared with him that she was raped. “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 thick heavy stick or bar), 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.”
After the interview was released on Monday, Liam was labeled by some as a racist. However, a few celebs came to the defense of the actor. For example, while on The View, Whoopi Goldberg defended Liam by stating "people walk around sometimes with rage, that's what happens. Is he a bigot? No. I've known him a pretty long time, I think I would have recognized. I've been around a lot of real bigots. I can say this man is not one." Actor Terry Crews also added his two cents in a tweet, where although he claims he wasn't defending the actor's racist comment, it at least sounded like he was trying to be sympathetic towards the actor. He tweeted "I believe that every person on earth is capable of the greatest good, or unspeakable evil," Crews tweeted. "Liam is just describing his fork in the road." Actress Michelle Rodriguez also said “It’s all f***ing bulls**t. Liam Neeson is not a racist. Dude, have you watched Widows? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’s throat. You can’t call him a racist ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue—so deep down her throat. I don’t care how good of an actor you are. It’s all bullshit. Ignore it. He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies.”
All three celebrities in their comments are ignoring the fact that Liam's comment was racist and that when the incident took place, Liam was engaging in racial profiling. Yes, it can be difficult to discover when someone you care about has done or said something racist. However, failing to truly call them out on that behavior only further perpetuates the problem. In this case, it also sends the message that what Liam did does not constitute as racism, when it clearly was and that what he said was no big deal. Yet, even in this day and age, Black people are still losing their lives because of the same type of thinking and “rage” that Nesson felt 40 years ago. Therefore, this isn't the time to simply brush it under the rug. Further, their defense of the actor's blatant racism, brings up a question that many of us frustratingly continue to ask, what then does constituents as racism? Additionally, if racial profiling does not constitute racism, what then does? The actor has yet to really apologize. Instead, he has been making a point to try and convince everyone that he is not a racist. But instead, Liam should be trying to understand why it is that some people are calling him racist. What are your thoughts on the matter? Share them with us in the comments below!