Actor Liam Neeson made a surprise cameo on “Atlanta” and apologized for “hurting people” with a racist comment he made in 2019.
The 69-year-old actor showed up on the eighth episode of the show’s fourth season, titled “New Jazz,” playing a fictional version of himself while sitting in a bar talking to one of the main characters Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (played Brian Tyree Henry) about comments he made during an interview he gave in 2019 to The Independent, reported Variety in a piece published Friday.
At the time, the “Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace” star talked about what happened 40 years ago when a friend of his was raped and he “went up and down areas with a cosh” for “maybe a week” hoping “some Black b****** would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something … so that I could kill him.” He admitted at the time he was “ashamed to say that.”
“You might’ve heard or read about my transgression,” Neeson’s character tells Paper Boi in the show this week. “You know, what I said about what I wanted to do to a black guy, any black guy, when I was a younger man in London. A friend of mine had been raped and I acted out of anger.”
“I look back now and it honestly frightens me,” he adds. “I thought people knowing who I once was would make clear who I am, who I’ve become. But with all that being said, I am sorry. I apologize if I hurt people.”
“It’s good to know that you don’t hate black people now,” Miles responds.
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“No, no I can’t stand the lot of you,” Neeson’s character replies. “Well, now I feel that way because you tried to ruin my career. Didn’t succeed, mind you. However, I’m sure one day I will get over it, but until then, we are mortal enemies.”
Paper Boi then asks Neeson if he had learned “you shouldn’t say s*** like that?”
“Aye,” the “Taken” star’s character replies. “But I also learned that the best and worst part about being white is, we don’t have to learn anything if we don’t want to. Take it easy, Paper Boi.”
After the Independent interview surfaced, the “Blacklight” star clarified his remarks in 2019 during his appearance on “Good Morning America.” He explained at the time that he’s not a “racist” and “definitely” would’ve had the same reaction if the person was white.
“I was trying to show honor, to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion,” Neeson said at the time. “I am a fairly intelligent guy. That’s why it kind of shocked me when I came down to earth after having these terrible feelings. Luckily, no violence occurred. I did want to lash out because my friend was brutally raped and I was defending her honor. It was a learning curve.”