'I'm not racist, this was 40 years ago' – Liam Neeson responds to controversy over his 'black b*****d' comments
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'I'm not racist, this was 40 years ago' – Liam Neeson responds to controversy over his 'black b*****d' comments

LIAM NEESON appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday in the wake of controversy over "racist" comments he made in a recent interview.

The Irish actor, 66, has come under fire after admitting he once had violent thoughts about killing a random black man when someone close to him was raped, adding that he was "ashamed and horrified" of his feelings afterwards.

His remarks have sparked a massive debate online, with many expressing disgust and others defending the action star's honesty.

Speaking on the ABC chat show, Neeson clarified his comments and said: "I'm not a racist".

He explained that the original incident occurred around four decades ago and that the friend involved had since passed away.

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"I went out deliberately into black areas in this city, looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence," he told GMA co-host Robin Roberts.

"I did it I'd say four or five times... until I caught myself on. It really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me".

The Taken star claimed he would have experienced the same thoughts if his friend's assailant had been white.

"If she had said an Irish, a Scot, a Brit or a Lithuanian I would - I know it would - have had the same effect," he said.

"I was trying to show honour, to stand up for my dear friend in this terribly medieval fashion. No violence ever occurred, thanks be to God".

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Neeson admitted he sought help following his thoughts of violence, talking to a priest and two good friends about the urges.

He added: "Believe it or not, power-walking... two hours every day... [helped] get rid of this.

"I'm not racist - this was nearly 40 years ago."

The Co. Antrim native recalled his childhood in Northern Ireland during the Troubles - saying he was surrounded by violence and bigotry, but was "never part of it".

Asked what he wanted people to learn from his experience, he said: "To talk. To open up. We all like to pretend we're politically correct in this country...in mine, too.

"You sometimes just have to scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry, and it's there."