Liam Neeson has revealed he once walked the streets with a cosh for days looking to kill a “black bastard” after someone close to him was raped many years….

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said during the interview, “But my immediate reaction was … did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.

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 gestures 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.”

British actors, eh?

Liam Neeson: ‘I walked the streets with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by a “black bastard” so that I could kill him’ (The Independent)


What does Liam Neeson’s desire to avenge a woman raped by a black man tell us about society and race? (Kuba Shand-Baptiste, The Independent)

35 thoughts on “Um

  1. Bort

    He’s not saying blacks are bastards, she could have said it was a white skin head and he’d be hoping to see some skinhead bastard, some Spanish bastard, some ginger bastard. etc etc.

    1. Col

      Yeah, that will be the bit people pick up on.
      But really if you heard someone with a beard or an accountant, for example, had committed a crime, you shouldn’t go out looking for someone with a beard or an accountant so that you can kill them.

      It’s the fact that his response was to blame the entire race that is the issue here. But he admits he is ashamed now.

    2. George

      He definitely would not have gone out hoping to beat a ginger. Even he wouldn’t say that.

      There was a racial element to it, he admits it and admits it was completely wrong.

  2. Michael McCabe

    Seems pretty clear what he meant and a perfectly acceptable way to say it. But no doubt the twitch forks are out on social media and the PC nazis are lining up. Apologies Mr Godwin and his law but enough is enough.

    1. George

      He is saying he had an angry and racial biased emotional response to a terrible thing happening, that it was wrong. and that he is ashamed about it. It wasn’t grand though, it was wrong.

  3. Andrew

    Career ender, good man Liam. Too dumb to keep your gob shut. It doesn’t matter now whatever explaining you try to do.
    He had a good run in fairness, for someone who’s a pretty poor actor.

  4. SOQ

    It may have took a horrible event to make him to feel that way but prejudice is not an off switch, it is granular and the conditioning is sometimes so hard wired that when emotions are stripped raw, it shocks even the person themselves. I think it was quite admirable of him to say what he said. He obviously soul searched beforehand and hopefully it will make a few others stop and think too.

    I will admit to feeling similar, albeit in different circumstances. During the final day before the marriage referendum, I spotted a couple of Arabs, definitely not Irish by dress appearance, in Dublin CC wearing No badges. My emotional reaction was to tell them to fluck back to whatever hole they crawled out of.

    Whether they were even entitled to vote or not, was another thing.

  5. dan

    Not sure why he admitted this. Everyone has biases, even – shock horror – black people. Travel in Kenya and see how they treat Indians. Or travel in South Korea and see how they treat Filipinos. We all have a layer of bias within us, a fear of the ‘other.’ Unfortunately elements of the far left try to claim it’s only white people that can be racist, a claim without any scientific, historical or anecdotal backing.

    1. DaithiG

      Maybe you’re conflating the notion that white people in the West have benefited immensely from racism, to the made up idea that non white people can’t be racist.

      Which, if you are, is rather disappointing.

  6. dan

    No. My point is people in every society on the planet have benefitted immensely from racism, including white people in the West. Hong Kong Chinese benefit from their ingrained racism against Filipinos for example. The language used to describe is far beyond the pale of what you see in Ireland.

    In terms of a “made up” idea, all ideas are made up, and this one is all over Twitter – among elements of the left as I have said.

    1. SOQ

      Liam is just an Irish actor from a British background recounting his knee jerk experience. It is the right not the left who over intellectualise then distil back to their core agenda.

      Where are you commenting from please? Location I mean.

  7. dan

    “It is the right not the left who over intellectualise then distil back to their core agenda.”

    Both sides do that, I’m afraid, both sides cherry pick arguments to fit their own preconceptions. Human nature.

    I’m commenting from the northside, however lived all over the world for 20+ years.

    1. SOQ

      Perhaps but there is a trend of late from the alt Right to claim a fictional PC oppression as a means to justify their own racist narrative. And sorry dan, we do get blow ins around here just trying to stir it up, which is why I asked.

      1. Dan

        I agree although there’s a trend on the left to claim oppression too – the idea that the only reason hierarchies exist is to oppress is an idea bandied about on the left. As I said, both sides do it – it would be strange if they didn’t.

  8. anne

    That’s is slightly extreme all right. My doggie wanted to say hello to two black kids in my neighbourhood recently. Making chit chat, asked them their names & in very Irish accents they told me their very Irish names.
    My response “no way, ha ha ha those are very Irish long are ye here”. Fupp it.. no connection between brain & mouth.
    I have been slightly surprised in a chinese restaurant too when the chinese have Dublin accents. It’s like wha, where, huh.. No flied wice with ih. It’s ara go on shur.

  9. Captainpants

    He probably thought people would understand that he was confessing to the dark feelings of racism that bubble up in all of us from time to time, particularly when we’re threatened.

    But context is nothing to outrage culture – so he’s pretty much put his head in the Lion’s mouth here. Still Schindler’s List was a great film.

    1. Nigel

      I dunno. I think if you don’t find it shocking and horrifying that Liam Neeson once wanted to kill a black man, any black man, there may actually be something wrong with you. Perhaps he was expecting this to follow the Hollywood trope of heartwarming reconciliation and understanding rather than the other trope of a confession that changes the way everyone looks at you, and the expected forgiveness is not forthcoming. I expect lots of white people will embrace the former and it won’t harm his career much in Hollywoodland because ‘outrage culture’ is somehow worse than stalking the streets with a weapon in your pocket looking for a black man to kill.

      1. Jonboy

        Even when you take the racism out of it the whole thing is still horrific. I wanted to murder an innocent person because my friend got raped is not a reasonable arguement.

  10. Captainpants

    Of course I find it shocking, thats axiomatic, but Neeson is confessing to a feeling that he no longer has. Its the equivalent of seeing an interview with sober cleaned up Russell Brand where he says “When I was 19 I thought drugs were the solution to all my problems” and reporting it as “Russell Brand says drugs are the solution to everything.”

    1. Nigel

      Not sure I can bring myself to draw an equivalence between addiction and a violent fantasy, though perhaps someone somewhere has something intelligent and insightful to say about our addiction to violent fantasies, and how they fuel racism, or how they are fueled by racism. It’s just that you can’t blurt that kind of thing out and expect it to be celebrated as a road to Damascus moment by the very people most at risk from that kind of hate attack. ‘Oh, wow, he thinks it’s bad to attack random black men, we should be so grateful to him for coming round to the view that attacking random black men is a bad thing, finally we’re making progress here, one rich white Hollywood actor at a time!’

  11. Captainpants

    The addiction thing was an analogy not an equivalence.

    No of course, Im not surprised at the outrage at all – I think it was pretty stupid of Liam Neeson given the current climate. I suspect he was making a point about how adverse individual experiences can lead to racist feelings, which I think is a common experience given how our brains work. Its actually part of the conversation about how we get over racism. I just think treating such a confession as a “Gotcha!” moment is unlikely to move that conversation forward much.

    1. Nigel

      I think treating the conversation as an opportunity to let black people know you once wanted to kill them but now don’t because you have got over racism is kind of narcissistic. But even if it weren’t, how can you have claim to have a conversation when you seem determined to completely dismiss the responses, particularly from those who could be directly affected by these attitudes? Everyone has heard what Liam Neeson had to say, but now the other part of the conversation is ‘outrage culture’ and a ‘gotcha movement?’

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      Agree. The conversation would be so constructive in breaking down barriers and questioning racial slurs, tendencies and accusations. But outrage and indignation shuts down the debate instantly.

      1. Nigel

        Well, telling someone you once wanted to kill them for no good reason but it’s okay, you got over it isn’t really a great way to start a constructive debate, in fairness.

      2. Spaghetti Hoop

        @ Nigel There was a reason: rape.
        The human is such an emotional animal that when those they love are threatened and hurt, it ignites powerful and potentially dangerous feelings of rage and revenge. Works of art and cases of law are filled with such instances of hot-blooded rage and violence. Sure Shakespeare based most of his tragedies upon love, hate and revenge. Very powerful stuff.

        1. Nigel

          He didn’t go looking for the person responsible for the rape, he went to find a person who had nothing to do with the rape but shared the same skin colour. If he had followed through, the person would have been murdered for no good reason. An incredibly bad reason, certainly, and I’m not sure I feel like validating that kind of response to another person’s trauma. Male pain expressed in justified violence, brought about by the victimisation of others, as celebrated in popular culture, is a power fantasy. I’ve always been taught that Hamlet’s fatal tragic flaw was his procrastination, but his hesitation is an expression of doubt about the traditional role of a son undertaking violent revenge and perpetuating destructive cycles. Embracing that role at the end is what brings about his downfall. Shakespeare knew the score.

          1. anne

            My understanding was he didn’t just go looking for any black man around.. he didn’t exact revenge as there were no black men around.

            He was hoping to bump into a scrote looking for trouble who was black. Ergo he didn’t bump into any trouble makers so nothing happened.

            I’m not getting into it with you now, it’s a small point. Move along with your tedium.

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