Image Source: Reddit
By Samantha Loomes
Following the interview, with actor Liam Neeson, published by The Independent labeled “Rape, race and how I learnt revenge doesn’t work”. The actor has faced major backlash over the comments he made.
Neeson recounts a time in his life when a dear friend of his was raped while he was out of the country. Upon his return, he was informed by his friend about what happened to her, Neeson was filled with rage over the horrific incident and discovering that the man was, in fact, a black man. Neeson explains “I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [Neeson gestured air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could, kill him.”
Liam acknowledges how appalling the confession is, and how terrible his thoughts and actions were but regardless of this, the fact remains, Liam’s desire for a violent vengeance had strong racist undertones. Following his confession the internet exploded, this can be expected from someone as world-renowned as Liam, and since he has received scathing messages from fans and fellow celebrities alike. Charles Blow, a columnist for the New York Times wrote, “You are no hero for your admission. You are a representative of racial terror”.
Following his confession, Liam told ABC’s Good Morning America that he, “is not a racist”. He went on to say that he hopes his comments would spark a larger debate about racism, “We all pretend we’re all politically correct in this country… in mine, too. You sometimes just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry and it’s there.”
Liam was initially being interviewed to promote his new movie “Cold Pursuit”, however following the backlash, the red carpet premiere for the movie was canceled two hours before it was set to start.
Members of the public and of the film industry are calling this event the beginning of the end for Liam Neeson, as we have seen with actors and actress’s tied to racist and sexual harassment scandals such as Kevin Spacey and Roseanne Barr, this could very well be the end of Liam’s acting career.
People are already calling for his parts in the new “Men in Black” movie to be reshot, and there have been directors and fellow actors alike who have said he will not work in the industry again.
A top talent manager who chooses to remain anonymous said Neeson “is kind of done right now. There were so many different opportunities to handle this in a better way. It’s been a carousel of thoughtlessness.”
Though the mainstream media is fairly against anything pro-Liam at the moment he has found some unlikely allies who have defended his actions, biracial comedian Trevor Noah being the most surprising of all. Trevor spoke saying he hopes that Liam’s confession would open up a conversation about modern racism, and how without people even realizing they could have some sort of dormant racism within them that has been perpetuated by society.
He went on to say, “I think it was cool that he said he looked for help afterwards, I think it was cool no one busted him; he volunteered the information. I think it was great he was ashamed.”
Whether or not Neeson’s career is over is up for debate. The conversation that has started over racism should be the focal point, the fact that people still do not understand what racism means, and some do not even realize they harbour these prejudiced feelings, is deeply disturbing.