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Film / TVRace

liam neeson’s brand of vengeance: any black will do

February 5, 2019
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The Liam Neeson Apology Tour is getting underway, since the actor’s admission that he went on a racist rampage after hearing that a friend of his was raped. Neeson was doing press for his latest film, Cold Pursuit; and when asked about its theme of revenge by The Independent, openly shared his story. Neeson says that he asked his friend about the attacker, telling the interviewer “My immediate reaction was … I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person,” reports The Grio.

The 66 year-old actor then admitted that he responded to the news the way a white person who frequents lynch mobs would. “I’m ashamed to say that and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black b******’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could … kill him.” Neeson realized (too damn late) that a little too much of his racism was showing, before back-peddling and owning that the admission  “was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that and I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

Herein lies a BIG fucking problem. Let’s remember that George Zimmerman was looking for trouble the night that he came across Trayvon Martin, whose birthday is today. Liam Neeson being a racist dumpster fire is not news, considering last year’s unprompted rant in which he called the #MeToo movement a “witch hunt.” Kinda like the same witch hunt, he embarked on to sate his anger and frustration, making his friend’s trauma about him. Even then, “witch hunt” is a kind description of aimlessly looking for any Black body to drop as a sacrifice to his ingrained disdain towards an entire race.

The apology tour began on Good Morning America, where Raven Roberts had to listen to Neeson say, “I went out deliberately into Black areas in the city, looking to be set upon,” before assuring her and America that this power-walking cured him of his “primal urge to lash out.” Black people historically get labeled as “primal” and “savage,” while white men get to exercise those urges at the cost of Black lives. While 45 calls the process of punishing abusive and corrupt men “witch hunts”, the faces in mobs backlit by tiki torches are white and male.

This isn’t the movies. Neeson isn’t doing what needs to be done to save his daughter from traffickers. Neeson just called the movement to bring down the men trafficking women and men across borders a “witch hunt.” The danger he poses is only heightened by his own hypocrisy. It’s the type of characters that Neeson plays that feed into this narrative of accepted while male rage and it is used by liberals and conservatives. The Walter Whites and Tony Sopranos of the world who get to unleash hell for some arbitrarily justified “greater good” are the narrative covers that conceal and bolster the harm caused by white male tyranny. What exactly is the difference between Neeson and Zimmerman’s intentions, and the men who sought out Jussie Smollet?

Liam Neeson will tell you he is not a racist but we look at actions in 2019 and the years preceding it. This should be the kind of person we cancel, which is saddening considering he just made a movie with Steve McQueen, starring across Viola Davis. Davis described the cinematic moment of their relationship depicted on screen as groundbreaking. “It’s not trying to make any social or political statements. We’re simply a couple in love. And what struck me in the narrative is that I’d never seen it before,” Davis told the BBC.

Neeson won’t tarnish the masterful legacy of McQueen’s Widows but his racism will taint what was a profound moment. More than that, here is a Hollywood heavyweight exposing the type of thinking we think is reserved for the MAGA crowd. We literally don’t have the time and space to defend men like him any longer.