He will find you and he will use a cosh to assault you, don’t panic if you are white you are fine. After all, he only has a particular set of skills. Is a bit harsh? Perhaps. The film star has been under the cosh of late (sorry), but is the criticism justified?
What did he say
Neeson pours out his heart in the interview about an event in his life some 40 years ago. He tells the story of a close relative being raped and how he asked questions over their race and for the next week would go to places where there was a large number of black people armed with a cosh, hoping somebody would try and assault him so he could exact revenge on black people.
Now obviously this isn’t cool. We all know it, Neeson now knows it. It also tapped into something very real that black people still have to put up with today. Actually not just black people, but people who follow Islam too. They are labelled due to the actions of their peers in a way white people are not. What you wouldn’t see is a guy walking around the neighbourhood looking for a random white guy to beat on. The comments suggest that Neeson was acting in a way that was undebatably racist.
He admitted it was wrong but didn’t hide from the fact that he had felt like that. The comments he has made since has seen him claim to not be racist and that he has admitted that how he felt was obviously wrong and he regrets how he was. For many though this isn’t good enough. As well as the obvious social media buzz there has been a lot of discussion among various celebs. Here are some notable commentators.
Ordinarily, Piers Morgan loves to go against the grain. However, on this issue, he seems to be firmly of the opinion that Liam Neeson’s comments were wildly inappropriate. Morgan believes that the comments were cynical and designed for self-promotion and to hype his upcoming movie. If that is the case then it is fair to say it is a pretty despicable thing to do.
It was interesting to hear John Barnes’ slant on the controversy. The former England and Liverpool star claimed that Neeson deserved a medal for his honesty. While that may have been a little hyperbolic Barnes made some strong points about media slant and bias. He was very much of the opinion that Neeson was seemingly at the centre of a media witch hunt.
Surprisingly another black guy who hasn’t condemned Neeson. He states that Neeson was just reflecting on his “fork in the road moment”. It’s quite an honest appraisal and it did seem like that was the case. However, rapper Wale responded negatively to Crew’s comments. Suggesting that there were too many people dying because of people who thought how Neeson used to think.
Black TV presenter Andi Peters joked that he was locking himself inside his house in case Liam Neeson was coming to try and find him. Quite a brave joke on daytime TV. It went down well…with Piers Morgan.
Neeson has seemingly already suffered for his catharsis with the red carpet event for his upcoming movie shelved. He has gone on the press offensive trying to quell the outrage but there still seems to be a general feeling that his comments were inappropriate. However, this may be dangerous territory. In order to discuss negatives, people have to feel comfortable talking about them. Shutting down discourse and shaming people creates an environment where positive change is unlikely. If nothing else this is a good opportunity to address the fact that some people still act this way.