Liam Neeson pulls out of US TV appearance following race remarks

Liam Neeson has cancelled an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert amid controversy over his rape revenge comments.

The Irish actor, 66, was due to appear on the US chat show on Friday, as he promotes his latest film Cold Pursuit.

However, on the listings for upcoming guests on the programme, Neeson has been replaced by The Wife actress Glenn Close.

Actor Liam Neeson has pulled out of a talk show appearance (Laura Hutton/PA)
Actor Liam Neeson has pulled out of a talk show appearance (Laura Hutton/PA)

It is understood Taken star Neeson pulled out. It comes after he attracted widespread criticism for comments regarding decades-old thoughts he had about killing a black person.

Speaking to The Independent during a discussion about revenge, a theme in Cold Pursuit, he said he roamed the streets looking for a “black bastard” after someone close to him was raped.

Fans on Twitter have called for a boycott of his films as a result of the comments, though some, including former footballer John Barnes and author John Banville, have defended him.

The red carpet at the film’s New York premiere was abruptly cancelled on Monday due to the controversy.

Neeson attracted controversy following comments he made regarding race and revenge (Laura Hutton/PA)
Neeson attracted controversy following comments he made regarding race and revenge (Laura Hutton/PA)

On Tuesday, Neeson appeared on Good Morning America to address his comments, saying he was not a racist.

He said he was compelled by a “primal” and “medieval” desire for revenge when he had violent thoughts about killing a black person.

He said: “I had never felt this feeling before, which was a primal urge to lash out …

“After that there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence.

“I did it four, maybe four or five times, until I caught myself and it really shocked me, this primal urge. It was shocking.

“It shocked me and it hurt me … I did seek help, I went to a priest.”

A representative for Neeson has been contacted for comment.

- Press Association

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