Red carpet nixed after Liam Neeson reveals racist thoughts

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  • This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson, left, with co-host Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

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    FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 file photo, actor Liam Neeson poses for photographers upon his arrival at the premiere of the film 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' in London. Liam Neeson says he had violent thoughts some time ago about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped. The Northern Ireland-born actor says that after being told the attacker was black he “went up and down areas with a" stick or truncheon hoping a black person "would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.” (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, file)

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    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson, left, with co-host Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

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    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson, left, with co-host Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

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    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

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    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

  • This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson, left, with co-host Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

  • 1

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 file photo, actor Liam Neeson poses for photographers upon his arrival at the premiere of the film 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' in London. Liam Neeson says he had violent thoughts some time ago about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped. The Northern Ireland-born actor says that after being told the attacker was black he “went up and down areas with a" stick or truncheon hoping a black person "would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.” (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, file)

  • 2

    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson, left, with co-host Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

  • 3

    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson, left, with co-host Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

  • 4

    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

  • 5

    This image released by ABC shows Irish actor Liam Neeson on "Good Morning America," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. The 66-year-old actor appeared on the morning program one day after he told an interviewer that he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning nearly 40 years ago that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says he's not a racist. The actor, who was promoting the revenge film "Cold Pursuit," says we need to talk about these things because bigotry and racism exist. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The red carpet for the premiere of Liam Neeson's latest film was canceled Tuesday, a day after a British newspaper published an interview in which the actor discussed wanting to kill a random black person nearly 40 years ago when a close friend told him she had been raped by a black man.

Organizers of the New York premiere of "Cold Pursuit" said they were cancelling interviews and photo opportunities for the film hours after Neeson appeared on "Good Morning America" to explain his past racist thoughts. He told interviewer Robin Roberts he is not a racist and moved past his desire for violence after seeking help from a priest and from friends.

Neeson said in an interview published Monday by The Independent that after learning his friend's attacker was black, he "went up and down areas with a cosh (stick or truncheon)" hoping a black person "would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him."

"It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that," Neeson said.

Neeson told Roberts he had asked about the race of the attacker, along with other descriptive characteristics. He said Tuesday the topic came up because the interviewer asked him about how he tapped into the feelings of revenge that he displays in "Cold Pursuit," which tells the story of a father who seeks violent revenge for his son's death.

"We all pretend we're kind of politically correct," he told Roberts. "I mean, in this country, it's the same in my own country too, you sometimes just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry, and it's there."

    

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