In an interview with The Independent, Liam Neeson explained his reaction to finding out a family member had been raped by a black man, where the actor “wandered around looking for a ‘black b***ard to kill.”
Piers Morgan compared Liam Neeson to the ‘KKK’ and slammed him for the ‘purest personification of racism’ on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday after the actor sparked a race row over his comments on rape.
Liam admitted during the conversation that his behaviour was ‘horrible and awful’ and he had learned a lesson from it.
Piers, 53, however, argued that Liam could not blame stupidity or ignorance for his choice of wording about black people and asserted that the offence he caused was ‘deliberate.’
The daytime TV host said: ‘I’ve met him a few times, he’s a very good guy to interview, very intelligent, so you can’t blame stupidity for this.
‘When you hear it coming from his own mouth, it’s one of the most extraordinary interviews I’ve think I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
‘There seems to be no self awareness in Neeson about how offensive what he’s saying is.’
He continued: ‘He knows what he’s saying, it’s not an accident, he’s deliberately putting it out there. It’s the indiscriminate nature of what he’s saying.’
Piers was staggered by Liam’s choice of words, saying: ‘I think if you’re a black person in Britain, America, anywhere in the world, it’s as offensive as it gets, isn’t it?
‘This is a major, major movie star wanting to know immediately the colour of someone who raped his friend.
Piers added: ‘If I was a black man, I would just find that unspeakable. Just the purest personification of racism, right there.
‘Because a black person might have done a bad thing to my friend, I’m going to kill any black person I can find. That is racism! That is Ku Klux Klan stuff, sorry it is!’
‘Once he found out the person was black, going out for one week – not just a moment of madness – for a whole week, armed with a cosh, looking for any black person that could anger him in his words “to kill them”. Think about that for a moment.’
Both Piers and his co-star Andi Peters, believed that this interview could potentially be ‘career-ending’ for the Taken star.
He said: ‘The reaction on Twitter was very extreme last night – people were saying it’s a career-ending interview.
‘You don’t want it to be of someone of his stature, but when you actually hear him say this stuff, there will be genuine, fully justified outrage.’
Later in the show, Piers spoke to Andi to about his thoughts on the matter and he addressed the fact that when Liam heard about the rape, his first question was, “what colour was he?”
Andi said: ‘For his instinct to be “what colour?” that’s what I find really offensive.
‘I was devastated and I think it should be career ending as you just can’t say things like that, it’s completely unacceptable.
‘This is beyond something you would do for publicity. It’s about wanting to kill a black person. There is absolutely no way in 2019 anyone should say that out loud or even think it. It’s disgusting.’
Michallon, US Culture Writer for The Independent, spoke exclusively to Good Morning Britain about her the interview which she had recorded with Liam.
She said: ‘I wasn’t expecting anything of this gravity to come out. Press junkets are a very specific breed of interviews.
‘I had 20 minutes [to interview him]. Usually it’s all fluff. This is definitely not fluff.
She added: ‘The gravity of what he was saying immediately struck me. It was a matter of playing that tape over and over again to myself and going back to his team, trying to get more comments, which they’ve declined that opportunity. But we had more questions.’
Clemence said of Liam at the end of the interview: ‘As the interview was wrapping up, he asked me if I was going to use that story, if I would be very careful. I said “yes”, because I’m always very careful, especially when I’m doing my work as a journalist.
‘Then he sort of switched to his actor voice, and there’s a famous phone scene in Taken, where his character is talking to the people who have kidnapped his daughter, and he said: “I have a very specific set of skills and I will find you and I will kill you.” It was, in his mind, clearly a joke.
‘Whether or not that was appropriate remains to be determined. But he said, “I will find you”. He said that to me in the same voice.’
She added: ‘I think if you listen to the tape, and I know I did it many, many times, you can tell that this is a story he’s shared in a very intense manner.
Actually, at the beginning of the interview he had pulled my phone [which I was using to record] closer to him so I would be able to hear him better.
So he knew what he was saying and he knew who he was saying it to. I think you can hear himself realise what he’s saying as he’s saying it. I think that was that moment where that was sinking in for him, too.’
She added: ‘It was definitely not something I was expecting to hear. The interview started very normally as you would expect for that kind of set up. It was me in an armchair, Liam Neeson in an armchair.
‘Then about 12 minutes into what ended up being 17 minutes together, I asked that question and he told that story and everything changed and it became evident that it was no longer a normal press junket.’
She said: ‘That the comments are shocking is an absolute given. No one is disputing that. He expressed some awareness of that.
‘He said he’s ashamed, he said it’s awful, awful. That’s why we released the audio, to be as transparent as possible with this story, so people could hear the full context of it.’
She earlier said of whether this is career ending: ‘Whether or not that’s career ending, I think it’s ultimately up to the studios and moviegoers to tell. I wouldn’t speculate.’
GMB received no response from Liam Neeson and Lionsgate when contacted. MailOnline has also contacted a spokesperson for the actor.
The day before, Liam was branded a racist who should be banned from the Oscars after speaking for the first time about his extreme reaction when he learned a loved one had allegedly been raped while he was overseas.
During an interview with the Independent to promote his new film Cold Pursuit, the actor described how he walked the streets looking for a ‘black b*****d’ to kill in a misguided attempt at revenge.
In the audio recording of the interview, he adds: ‘God forbid, I am telling this to a journalist.’
He was subsequently branded a ‘racist’ on Twitter who ‘should be banned from the Oscars.’
Liam’s new movie sees the action star take on the role of a father intent on revenge after his son has been killed in a drug feud, with Liam revealing he understands his character’s motivation.
He explained: ‘There’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions.’
He said that after coming home from an overseas trip years ago he was told a loved one, who he does not name, had been raped.
Liam said: ‘She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way. But my immediate reaction was I asked, 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 ‘black b******d’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.’
He went on: ‘It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that. She would say, “Where are you going?” and I would say, “I’m just going out for a walk.” You know? “What’s wrong?” “No no, nothing’s wrong.'”
He admitted it was a ‘horrible’ time and he’s learned a valuable lesson from his ‘awful’ reaction. He added that growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles has given him insight into the ‘primal need for revenge’ and how destructive that can be.