The actor was on Good Morning America on Tuesday to promote his new film, Cold Pursuit, and addressed the controversy, saying that he “sought help” after the incident, according to the Evening Standard.
“The topic of a film is a dark comedy but its base is revenge and the lady journalist was asking me how I tap into that and I remember an incident nearly 40 years ago where a dear friend of mine was brutally raped,” he said. “She told me and she handled the situation incredibly bravely but I had never felt this feeling before, which was a primal urge to lash out.”
The controversy began after Neeson told the story to the Independent, a British online newspaper.
“I went up and down areas with a (crowbar), hoping I’d be approached by somebody—I’m ashamed to say that—and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could—kill him,” he said.
He said that having that impulse had hurt him and that he spoke to a priest and two of his friends to get help.
Good Morning America host Robin Roberts asked the Taken actor if he would have had the same reaction if the person who reportedly raped his friend was White. He said he would have and that he is “not racist.”
“If she’d have said a Brit, a Scot, a Lithuanian I would have reacted the same,” he said. “I was trying to show honor and stand up for my friend in this medieval fashion.”