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Liam Neeson Says He Wanted to Kill ‘Some Black Bastard’ After Hearing About Friend’s Rape

Liam Neeson recalled a disturbing incident in a recent interview.

The actor said, after someone he knew was allegedly raped by a black attacker, he walked the streets hoping to kill some “black bastard” in revenge.

“I went up and down areas with a cosh (a club), 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,” the actor said in an interview published on Monday in Britain’s Independent newspaper. He used air quotes when saying the words “black bastard.”

Promoting his new film, “Cold Pursuit,” a tale of revenge, Neeson told the reporter he had found out about the rape after returning home from abroad. He did not specify who had been attacked, but said: “There’s something primal — God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions.”

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said of the victim’s reaction. “I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person.”

Popular on Variety

Neeson went on to add that he did “learn a lesson” from his reaction to the rape. He noted that he had grown up during the Troubles, a period of huge unrest in his native Northern Ireland, and that while he understood the primal drive for revenge, it ultimately leads to more bloodshed.

Neeson is now facing backlash for the comments, which social media users are calling racist.

Neeson’s reps did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

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