On Tuesday, Liam Neeson appeared on Good Morning America to address a controversial interview in which he contemplated carrying out a racist revenge attack on a black person after someone close to him was raped. 

While speaking with anchor Robin Roberts, the actor recalled the incident of which he found himself in nearly 40 years ago. “I had never felt this feeling before which was a primal urge to lash out,” Neeson recalled after learning one of his friends was allegedly assaulted by a black man.

“After that, there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence,” he continued. “And I did it for, I’d say, maybe four or five times until I caught myself on, and it really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me, and it hurt me. I did seek help.”

“I’m not racist,” Neeson said, who claimed he turned to friends, a priest, and power walking as help to get him through his issues. “This was nearly 40 years ago.”

The Taken star also explained that he grew up surrounded by violence during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, which included terrorist attacks and bombings. Roberts then pointed out that Neeson had “asked about color. You didn’t ask if the person was tall or short, big or small. You immediately went to race.”

The actor then clarified that he had asked his friend about the rapist’s other attributes, besides race and claimed that he would’ve had the same reaction if she had been assaulted by a white man. 

“If she has said an Irish, or a Scot, or a Brit, or a Lithuanian, I know I would’ve felt the same effect. I was trying to… stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion.” Neeson said. 

“I’m a fairly intelligent guy, that’s why it kind of shocked me when I came down to Earth after having these horrible feelings,” he added. “Luckily no violence occurred – ever. Thanks be to God.”

During the interview, when asked if he would’ve actually gone through with his plan of killing a random black man to avenge the rape of his friend, Neeson answered “yes.”

“That was my feeling, that I did want to lash out, yes,” he said. “Because my friend was brutally raped and I thought I was defending her honor.”

“We all pretend we’re kind of politically correct. I mean, in this country, it’s the same in my own country too, you sometimes just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry, and it’s there,” he continued. 

Roberts then pointed out the pain some of have felt over Neeson’s remarks. “The one point I want to make out is this wasn’t discovered by somebody, you admitted this… so I give you credit there,” she began. “But also having to acknowledge the hurt, even though it happened decades ago, the hurt of an innocent black man, knowing he could’ve been killed, for something he did not do, because of the color of his skin.”

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“I know that you’re getting crucified in many ways for saying what you did,” she added. “And you’re not shying away, you’re admitting that it was wrong, you’ve learned from that, but you have to also understand the pain of a black person hearing what you said.”

“Of course, absolutely,” Neeson responded.

“Violence breeds violence,” he added, “Bigotry breeds bigotry.”

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