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The red carpet for the latest Liam Neeson action movie, Cold Pursuit, has been canceled as fallout continues from the Irish actor’s confession that he once considered a racist “revenge” attack.
Tuesday’s premiere at New York City’s AMC Loews Lincoln Square is proceeding as scheduled. A person familiar with the matter said that the red carpet wouldn’t be appropriate under the circumstances.
Neeson revealed in an interview with The Independent on Monday that years ago, after he learned that someone close to him had been raped by someone his friend said was black, he had violent thoughts about killing a random black person. His intent was to show how he learned that violence and revenge don’t accomplish anything, according to the author of the story.
“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 bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could … kill him.” Neeson continued, “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. … But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing,’ you know?”
After backlash on Monday, Neeson on Tuesday appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America to address the comments, telling interviewer Robin Roberts, “I’m not racist.” He added, “I was trying to show honor, to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion. … I am a fairly intelligent guy and that’s why it kind of shocked me when I came down to earth after having these horrible feelings.” Neeson added that seeking out the counsel of a priest and exercise helped him come to his senses.
While Neeson was set to make an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert this Friday, he has since canceled his interview in the wake of the controversy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Cold Pursuit, which is set to open wide on Friday, follows a snowplow driver played by Neeson who seeks violent revenge after his son dies mysteriously. It’s just one of the actor’s many vigilante roles since the 2008 blockbuster Taken.
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 9:14 a.m. Updated with information that Neeson canceled his Late Show appearance.
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