Liam Neeson said he’s “not racist” in an interview with “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, responding to a shocking admission from his past revealed Monday in which the actor said he prowled the streets looking to attack a black man in order to seek revenge for a friend who had been raped.
Speaking with Robin Roberts, Neeson did not deny or try to explain away his original story he told to The Independent but reiterated it and explained that his actions came from a “primal urge” for revenge rather than a place of racism.
“I went out deliberately into black areas in this city looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence. And I did it for 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,” Neeson said. “I’m not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago.”
Neeson again explained that part of that desire came from growing up in Northern Ireland during a period of war between Catholics and Protestants in the region, which led to the IRA terror attacks.
But Roberts pressed Neeson why he asked her friend about the man’s race and whether he would’ve had the same reaction if it was a white man.
“I know I would’ve had the same effect. I was trying to show honor, stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion,” Neeson said. “It shocked me when I came down to Earth after having these horrible feelings. Luckily, no violence occurred ever. Thanks be to God.”
And Neeson said he believed he truly would’ve hurt someone in that moment if it came up.
Roberts then asked him what his teachable moment from his admission should be.
“To talk, to open up. To talk about these things. We all pretend we’re politically correct. In this country, it’s the same as my own country. Sometimes you just scratch the surface and discover this racism and bigotry. And it’s there,” Neeson said. “Violence breeds violence, bigotry breeds bigotry.”
Watch the full video interview via “GMA” above.