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The red carpet at the premiere of Liam Neeson’s newest film was abruptly cancelled amid fallout from the actor’s comments about decades-old thoughts he had about killing a black person.
Organizers of the New York premiere of Cold Pursuit informed journalists that interviews and photo opportunities had been cancelled on Tuesday afternoon, a couple hours before the event was supposed to start. The film’s screening Tuesday night will continue as planned.
The changes came hours after the 66-year-old actor appeared on Good Morning America to address his comments, telling interviewer Robin Roberts that he is not a racist.
He was quoted in an interview by the Independent on Monday describing his violent thoughts about killing a black person nearly 40 years ago after learning that someone close to him had been raped.
Neeson said he had asked about the race of the attacker, along with other descriptive characteristics, before heading out into black neighbourhoods on multiple occasions “looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence.”
He also said he had a “primal urge to lash out” before he was shocked by his reaction and sought help from a priest and friends.
“Would you have had the same reaction if your friend had said it was a white man?” GMA co-host Robin Roberts asked.
“If she would have said an Irish or a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know it would have had the same effect. I was trying to show honour to my, stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion,” Neeson said.
Neeson said he’s not a racist.
“We all pretend we’re all, you know, politically correct,” he said.
The actor went on to say that we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist.