Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

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Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2019-02-05 03:59pm

Liam Neeson has come under fire after admitting that he once harboured violent thoughts about killing a black person in revenge after someone close to him was raped.

The Taken actor, 66, revealed in an interview to promote his new film Cold Pursuit, that he had walked the streets armed with a weapon hoping he would be approached by someone “so that I could kill him”.

Discussing how his character turns to anger, Neeson told the Independent: “There’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions. I’ll tell you a story. This is true.”

He said the rape happened some time ago and said of his friend: “She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way.

“But my immediate reaction was… I asked, did she know who it was? 'No'.

"What colour were they? She said it was a black person.

“I went up and down areas with a cosh [a stick or bar used as a weapon], hoping I’d be approached by somebody – 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.

“It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that...

“It 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.

“It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f*** are you doing,’ you know?

“I come from a society – I grew up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles – and, you know, I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland’s proof of that."

Neeson’s comments have triggered debate on social media.

Radio presenter Clara Amfo, author Marian Keyes and actress Annie Wallace were among those who reacted to Neeson’s statement, with Keyes saying she was “mortified”.

The Northern Irish actor denied being a racist in the interview, explaining how he was brought up during The Troubles in the country of his birth.

"I am not racist, this was nearly 40 years ago. I was brought up in the north of Ireland and brought up in 'The Troubles', the 60s, 70s and early 80s."

Neeson clarified he asked about his friend for a greater description of the culprit, rather than just the colour of his skin, as the original interview only stated that he ascertained he was black.

Questioned when he discussed the attackers height and age: "I asked all those questions, too, I did. But I did ask about race."

Presenter Robin Roberts asked if he would have reacted the same if the culprit was from a different demographic, Neeson said: "Oh definitely, if she said Irish, Scot, Brit or Lithuanian, I know I would have felt the same effect.

"I was trying to show honour, stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion. I am a fairly intelligent guy and it kind of shocked me when I came down to earth. Luckily, no violence occurred."

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-05 04:16pm

That he would deliberately try to engineer an excuse to murder a random person based on race (and implicitly hold an entire race accountable for the actions of a single criminal) is obviously despicable. And although he acknowledges he was wrong, I feel that he still comes off to some degree as trying to make excuses for it, and the fact that he used the phrase "black b******" in his interview now certainly doesn't help his case. Whatever his background, whatever happened, he should have known better. If it had just been thoughts, or feelings, that would be one thing- nearly everyone has dark thoughts, especially under pressure, and he moved past them. I'm not a fan of Thought Crime. But it sounds by his own admission as though he deliberately and premeditatively tried to put them into action (though thankfully not very effectively). That's a whole other level, and even as a white man, I'd probably feel nervous being in the same room as someone I knew had conspired over a period of a week to murder a random human being for the color of their skin, because that is not something that everybody does under those situations.

That said, it takes a lot of courage to come out and publicly admit to something like that unprompted, especially since there is a very real chance that he has just permanently destroyed his reputation and career. So I respect him for that much, at least. Perhaps we should take his example as one to learn from, rather than condemning him as an irredeemable monster for it- because doing so will simply encourage other people to keep their mouths shut, to not confront the ugly past but try to bury it.

Nonetheless, there's no getting around the fact that he has essentially confessed to conspiracy to commit murder (albeit given how long ago it was, its probably outside any statute of limitations, even if a confession alone was enough to charge someone). Its a shame, but I don't think I'll ever be able to view him in the same way again, in light of that knowledge.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-05 04:20pm

There's also an undercurrent of sexism to his actions that is going undiscussed here- the notion that it is the "honourable" thing for a man to "avenge" a woman who is raped can be seen as having some very dated chauvinistic and patriarchal undertones.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-02-05 04:45pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-02-05 04:16pm
That said, it takes a lot of courage to come out and publicly admit to something like that unprompted, especially since there is a very real chance that he has just permanently destroyed his reputation and career. So I respect him for that much, at least. Perhaps we should take his example as one to learn from, rather than condemning him as an irredeemable monster for it- because doing so will simply encourage other people to keep their mouths shut, to not confront the ugly past but try to bury it.
This is what it comes down to for me. A lot of people have regrettable stuff in their past, and you can either carry on hiding it, or you can own it. Given Neeson's age (66), he obviously grew up in a period where racial tensions and attitudes were commonplace, and that obviously strongly influenced him. The fact that he's willing to admit he was fucked in the head and needed help is a good thing, and it sounds like he tried to move past that traumatic time in his life.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Gunhead » 2019-02-05 05:31pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-02-05 04:20pm
There's also an undercurrent of sexism to his actions that is going undiscussed here- the notion that it is the "honourable" thing for a man to "avenge" a woman who is raped can be seen as having some very dated chauvinistic and patriarchal undertones.
What a load of bullshit. You seriously telling me if someone close to you was a victim of rape, regardless of gender, you wouldn't have a moment where you really wish you had him alone in a dark alley so you could work him over with baseball bat? Because I can tell you, I'd sure as fuck would have some pretty dark thoughts for a looong time if anyone close to me was attacked like that. But hey yea.. the eebul patriarchy is at work again! How dare he have emotions! I'm sure no woman would ever harbor dark thoughts about violence against rapists because ... women are virtuous angels who can do no harm in word, deed or thought!!!

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-05 05:45pm

Gunhead wrote:
2019-02-05 05:31pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-02-05 04:20pm
There's also an undercurrent of sexism to his actions that is going undiscussed here- the notion that it is the "honourable" thing for a man to "avenge" a woman who is raped can be seen as having some very dated chauvinistic and patriarchal undertones.
What a load of bullshit. You seriously telling me if someone close to you was a victim of rape, regardless of gender, you wouldn't have a moment where you really wish you had him alone in a dark alley so you could work him over with baseball bat? Because I can tell you, I'd sure as fuck would have some pretty dark thoughts for a looong time if anyone close to me was attacked like that. But hey yea.. the eebul patriarchy is at work again! How dare he have emotions! I'm sure no woman would ever harbor dark thoughts about violence against rapists because ... women are virtuous angels who can do no harm in word, deed or thought!!!

-Gunhead
Its a question of context. Wanting revenge against someone who hurt someone you care about? Sure, that's a common enough reaction, and as I said, I wouldn't necessarily condemn someone merely for having dark thoughts or emotions. But the specific idea of it being the "honourable" thing (to use Mr. Neeson's own words) for a man to take responsibility for avenging a woman (regardless of whether she actually wants him to avenge her)- that is a very specific and very patriarchal trope, and we both know it.

But by all means, don't respond to what I actually said. Just put words in my mouth so you can get up on your Poor Persecuted Man Oppressed by the Eebul SJWs/Feminazis high horse.

And oh man, your last sentence. I can practically taste the seething resentment of women in that sentence.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Zaune » 2019-02-05 06:08pm

I say let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Gunhead raises a good point: If something so terrible had happened to someone close to me, I too would be angry enough that things I'd never normally even consider would look like a really good idea. So would a lot of people.

And we'll never know if he would have actually gone through with it if the opportunity had presented itself. But the important thing to remember here is that he realised how stupid he was acting and stopped before it came to that, and he's willing to admit it was really stupid.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by aerius » 2019-02-05 06:09pm

Clearly, clearly from the Sean Connery camp.

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Gunhead » 2019-02-05 06:23pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-02-05 05:45pm
Its a question of context. Wanting revenge against someone who hurt someone you care about? Sure, that's a common enough reaction, and as I said, I wouldn't necessarily condemn someone merely for having dark thoughts or emotions. But the specific idea of it being the "honourable" thing (to use Mr. Neeson's own words) for a man to take responsibility for avenging a woman (regardless of whether she actually wants him to avenge her)- that is a very specific and very patriarchal trope, and we both know it.

But by all means, don't respond to what I actually said. Just put words in my mouth so you can get up on your Poor Persecuted Man Oppressed by the Eebul SJWs/Feminazis high horse.

And oh man, your last sentence. I can practically taste the seething resentment of women in that sentence.
Yea why don't you fuck off back to twitter where you belong, you'll be in good company there with the rest of the idiots of the planet like Trump.
If you ever learn to read, you can go back and see the part where Neeson himself called his "honour" terrible and medieval, so you calling him patriarchal is just you grandstanding as he already acknowledged his thoughts and actions were not acceptable then or now. This is right there with him saying that his rage didn't have any particular demographic in mind, which leads me to think he would have had a pretty severe reaction if a close male friend had been physically attacked. But I guess SJW brains can't handle subtle clues. Oh yes, I must hate women, because I dared to point out that you know damn well women can also harbor thoughts of violence. Oh no! The eebul patriarchy is in your head!! Maybe you should drill a hole and pour in some common sense, then it's even possible to understand when someone is being.. *gasp* sarcastic!!

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Gandalf » 2019-02-05 06:34pm

I wonder how things would have been received if someone close to a victim of US police violence said that they went out looking for white people to kill?
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-05 06:38pm

I didn't say Liam Neeson's statements now were sexist and patriarchal, you frothing moron. I said that his actions and motives at the time were. And your rebuttal is "Liam Neeson acknowledged that his attitude was medieval". Which is really more of a concession than a rebuttal, if you could only cool down your knee-jerk rage against the evil SJWs long enough to realize it.

Honestly, I feel like this whole exchange only happened because you saw me call something patriarchal, got triggered like every other insecure man child on the internet, and are too caught up in your self-righteous rage to actually stop and read what I'm saying. Well, that or you are deliberately misrepresenting me.

And yeah, I'm just like Trump. BOTH SIDES! BOTH SIDES! :lol: :roll: :wanker:

Reg. Gandalf's question: probably about the same, except with the people defending them and the people condemning them being largely reversed. While I suppose its easier to empathize with one's own "group", if I look at it as impartially as possible, I don't think I could view either one as being clearly morally worse than the other. In both cases, it would be planning race-based murder of random people for someone else's crimes. You might say the person from the oppressed group is more sympathetic, but ultimately neither action is defensible.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Jub » 2019-02-05 07:53pm

Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-05 06:34pm
I wonder how things would have been received if someone close to a victim of US police violence said that they went out looking for white people to kill?
Wouldn't it be more like looking for a cop to kill? Whites aren't seen as a group the same way minorities are, for better or (mostly) worse, so you tend to identify them via profession or socio-economic class.

If somebody had a loved one badly abused by a cop I'd totally get why they'd want to hurt a cop (or even cops) in return given how we can expect police on civilian violence to be handled. It wouldn't be right, but I'd think the same thing I think of Neeson, that it's a stupid revenge fantasy and as long as you never act on it and admit it was a bad idea you're probably fine.

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Gandalf » 2019-02-05 08:05pm

Jub wrote:
2019-02-05 07:53pm
Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-05 06:34pm
I wonder how things would have been received if someone close to a victim of US police violence said that they went out looking for white people to kill?
Wouldn't it be more like looking for a cop to kill? Whites aren't seen as a group the same way minorities are, for better or (mostly) worse, so you tend to identify them via profession or socio-economic class.

If somebody had a loved one badly abused by a cop I'd totally get why they'd want to hurt a cop (or even cops) in return given how we can expect police on civilian violence to be handled. It wouldn't be right, but I'd think the same thing I think of Neeson, that it's a stupid revenge fantasy and as long as you never act on it and admit it was a bad idea you're probably fine.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by ray245 » 2019-02-05 08:20pm

In all honesty, it's better and good that this was actually said and it helped to provoke some discussions and hopefully use this as a learning point.

The main goal should always be finding actual ways of stopping people from being racists, and simply trying to protect yourself from hearing about it isn't going to do anything. Sure, people may no longer express racism or their history with racism openly, but it doesn't stop people from holding onto such views.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Jub » 2019-02-05 08:21pm

Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-05 08:05pm
Cops aren't a race.
You missed the part where people don't tend to think of whites the same as they do minorities. They don't tend to think, that rapist was white, they'd tend to look for other identifiers to track them by.

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Gandalf » 2019-02-05 08:23pm

Jub wrote:
2019-02-05 08:21pm
Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-05 08:05pm
Cops aren't a race.
You missed the part where people don't tend to think of whites the same as they do minorities. They don't tend to think, that rapist was white, they'd tend to look for other identifiers to track them by.
I didn't miss it. I just didn't think it relevant.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Jub » 2019-02-05 08:26pm

Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-05 08:23pm
I didn't miss it. I just didn't think it relevant.
It is though, how we see whites versus minorities is a big part of racism, it also colors how we see actions taken against certain groups.

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Gandalf » 2019-02-06 02:31am

Jub wrote:
2019-02-05 08:26pm
Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-05 08:23pm
I didn't miss it. I just didn't think it relevant.
It is though, how we see whites versus minorities is a big part of racism, it also colors how we see actions taken against certain groups.
Then if the cop thing bamboozles you so, make it the victim of a guy who shoots up a school, bombs an abortion clinic, or whatever.

If in response to Dylann Roof, someone said that they just wanted to go out and kill a white person, would so many be cheering them on for being public with it, or would it be like when Kaepernick kneeled and people went nuts?
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That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Jub » 2019-02-06 02:43am

Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-06 02:31am
Then if the cop thing bamboozles you so, make it the victim of a guy who shoots up a school, bombs an abortion clinic, or whatever.

If in response to Dylann Roof, someone said that they just wanted to go out and kill a white person, would so many be cheering them on for being public with it, or would it be like when Kaepernick kneeled and people went nuts?
Again, if that guy was white the backlash wouldn't be against all whites, that's just not how this works.

Plus, if the person was famous enough (otherwise I wouldn't likely hear about it), admitted that he was wrong in his thoughts and actions, and brought it up himself unprompted I'd treat them the same as I'm treating Neeson. I can't say how the masses would react, because I rarely share their reaction.

I think Kaepernick was made a martyr by a league that wants to have its cake and eat it too. It sickens me that he's not playing football when he's clearly skilled and athletic enough to do so. Many people feel the same way as I do but as long as a vocal group, and more importantly, Fox sports, don't fee that way he won't get a shot.

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-02-06 07:29am

We should also remember where Liam Neeson was raised not just when. In Northen Ireland during "the troubles" as that time was called it's likely that idea of violent personal retribution ws only option was a lot more common and accepted, not mention there was probably a strong "us versus them" atmosphare back then, granted we'd have to ask an irish person who was from the region and old enough during that time to be certain. While it doesn't excuse his actions it might go towards explaining why he had those toughts.

After all we got remember that person in question isn't an american and thus has a different cultural point of view about certain things.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2019-02-06 12:23pm

Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-06 02:31am
Jub wrote:
2019-02-05 08:26pm
Gandalf wrote:
2019-02-05 08:23pm
I didn't miss it. I just didn't think it relevant.
It is though, how we see whites versus minorities is a big part of racism, it also colors how we see actions taken against certain groups.
Then if the cop thing bamboozles you so, make it the victim of a guy who shoots up a school, bombs an abortion clinic, or whatever.

If in response to Dylann Roof, someone said that they just wanted to go out and kill a white person, would so many be cheering them on for being public with it, or would it be like when Kaepernick kneeled and people went nuts?
Depends where you live? I knew a couple of black men in Oakland who admitted to similar thoughts and self-realizations and the response was more along the line of "glad you're making progress. It isn't easy." Of course, they weren't celebrities and this was before Twitter, so not the best representation of what you're getting at.

Either way, if someone was walking around prepared to commit a hate crime due to their trauma, I'd expect everyone to feel at least a little uneasy around them no matter how much they've 'come to Jesus' since then.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Broomstick » 2019-02-06 03:15pm

Bob the Gunslinger wrote:
2019-02-06 12:23pm
Either way, if someone was walking around prepared to commit a hate crime due to their trauma, I'd expect everyone to feel at least a little uneasy around them no matter how much they've 'come to Jesus' since then.
By that reasoning there should be a LOT of people you're uneasy around - thoughts of retribution that could fall under "hate crime" are common, as are violent thoughts in general. The real question is did someone act on those thoughts? And "action" can range from what Neeson did - wandering around at random looking for trouble but not actually committing a crime - to full on murder. Someone wandering streets at night angry, but not actually hurting anyone? Well, not good but not actually a crime. And given that decades have passed and Neeson has (apparently and presumably) not committed any actual crimes and re-apprised his position on race I don't think I'd be "uneasy" around him. There are lots of unrepentant bigots out there, I worry more about them.

It's not just race, either - plenty of religious bigots. Plenty of people willing to commit violence over sex crimes that have happened to their loved ones when the perpetrator shares their ethnicity.

I think the thought of retribution against those who have harmed ourselves or our loved ones is quite common. So common that I'd dare to call it a normal impulse - the key thing being the person's actions. Evil thoughts are common, evil actions should not be.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2019-02-06 04:39pm

I said, "walking around". Neeson left his home with a weapon and patrolled for the express purpose of finding a black man to start a fight with and then kill. That's much farther than simply fantasizing or harboring racist thoughts.

And ever since the election of 2016, I have been uneasy around most people. I never before realized how many of my countrymen and countrywomen were so nazi-adjacent.
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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by Broomstick » 2019-02-06 05:35pm

Bob the Gunslinger wrote:
2019-02-06 04:39pm
I said, "walking around". Neeson left his home with a weapon and patrolled for the express purpose of finding a black man to start a fight with and then kill. That's much farther than simply fantasizing or harboring racist thoughts.
And yet.... he didn't actually commit an act of violence. Now, not knowing the details of the place he was living at the time I have no idea if that was because he simply couldn't find a black man, or if he saw/found some and did not act on his impulse.
And ever since the election of 2016, I have been uneasy around most people. I never before realized how many of my countrymen and countrywomen were so nazi-adjacent.
Having grown up in a fairly violent place and also living in a big urban area I've spent a lot of my life being uneasy... but got to a point where I decided I was going to go ahead and live my life despite all that, because otherwise I'd feel the bad guys were winning.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

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Re: Liam Neeson faces backlash over racially charged rape revenge comments

Post by ray245 » 2019-02-06 06:06pm

Broomstick wrote:
2019-02-06 05:35pm
And yet.... he didn't actually commit an act of violence. Now, not knowing the details of the place he was living at the time I have no idea if that was because he simply couldn't find a black man, or if he saw/found some and did not act on his impulse.
From his phrasing it seems like he didn't manage to find anyone.
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