Months after generating controversy for discussing a past event in which he wanted to bait a black man into fighting him to avenge the rape of a close friend, Hollywood star Liam Neeson has released an apology for his remarks.
"Over the last several weeks, I have reflected on and spoken to a variety of people who were hurt by my impulsive recounting of a brutal rape of a dear female friend nearly 40 years ago and my unacceptable thoughts and actions at that time in response to this crime," he said in the statement.
"The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am. In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponised and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage," variety.com quoted the star as saying.
"What I failed to realise is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact (that) my words have today.
"I was wrong to do what I did. I recognise that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive. I profoundly apologise," Neeson's statement said.
The actor had said, after someone he knew was allegedly raped by a black attacker, he walked the streets hoping to kill some "black ***" in revenge.
Neeson had said this in February while the promotion of his revenge thriller "Cold Pursuit" was going on.
He had said that the alleged rape took that place a long time ago, almost 40 years back, and he found out about it when he came back from a trip abroad.
"I went up and down areas with a cosh (a club), hoping I'd be approached by somebody -- I'm ashamed to say that -- and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black ***' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him," the actor said in an interview published on February 4, in Britain's Independent newspaper.
He used air quotes when saying the words "black ***."
Neeson had not specified who had been attacked, but had said: "There's something primal -- God forbid you've ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions."