People are calling for Liam Neeson to be cut from the new Men In Black reboot over comments he made about previously wanting to kill a black man.
Neeson, who made the statements in a recent interview with The Independent, said years ago he walked the streets armed with the intention of getting into an altercation with a random black man so that he could kill him in response to the news that someone close to him had been raped by a black man.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [Neeson gestured air quotes with his fingers] ‘black b*****d’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could…kill him,” he told The Independent.
The 66-year-old, stars in the fourth film in the franchise, Men In Black: International, which has finished shooting and it due to hit cinemas June this year, alongside Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth.
Neither Thompson or Hemsworth have commented publicly on Neeson’s comments.
One commenter wrote on Twitter: “Sorry Tessa Thompson, I was looking forward to seeing MIB: International with you and Chris Hemsworth but I cannot support this movie after reading Liam Neeson’s racist comments about wanting to lynch a random black person.”
“If they can magically de-age every actor in the MCU, they can digitally replace Liam Neeson in MIB and they should,” another wrote.
Speaking yesterday on Good Morning America, Neeson said he was not a racist.
“If she had said an Irish or a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian I would – I know I would – have had the same effect. I was trying to show honour, to stand up for my dear friend in this terribly medieval fashion,” he said.
The backlash Neeson’s comments have sparked led to the New York red carpet event for his latest film Cold Pursuit to be cancelled.
Last night’s premiere for the film went ahead, but journalists were given just two hours notice that no interviews would be taking place.