Whoopi Goldberg defends Liam Neeson, says 'you can't be surprised' by actor's desire for revenge
Goldberg appeared on the talkshow 'The View' to defend her fellow Hollywood star and explained why she felt he was not a bigot
Whoopi Goldberg came out in defense of fellow star Liam Neeson, who is currently embroiled in a controversy over statements he made where he expressed plans to kill a random "black b******" because of an attack his dear friend suffered. While several have come out on social media calling for a boycott of Neeson's movies and asking for him to be banned from the upcoming Oscars, 63-year-old Goldberg had a more restrained view of the 'Taken' star's comments, which were made 40 years ago.
According to the Daily Mail, Goldberg appeared on 'The View' to offer her thoughts on Neeson's statements, claiming people shouldn't be so "surprised" by his anger and desire for revenge after hearing a near and dear one had been raped.
"People walk around sometimes with rage, that's what happens. Is he a bigot? No," she was quoted saying during the show. "I've known him a pretty long time, I think I would have recognized, I've been around a lot of real bigots. I can say this man is not one. You can't be surprised that somebody whose loved one is attacked is angry and wants to go out and attack."
On 'Good Morning America' (GMA) Tuesday, February 5, making his first public appearance since he made the bombshell confession of wanting to kill a black man, Neeson refused to apologize and insisted he was not racist, giving audience members some context on what had prompted him to make the statements four decades ago.
"Nearly 40 years ago, when a very dear friend of mine was brutally raped and I was out of the country and when I came back, she told me about it," he explained. "I had never felt this feeling before, which was a primal urge to lash out. I asked her did she know the person and his race. She said he was a black man."
"I thought okay and after that there were some nights, I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence," he continued. "I did it for say, maybe four or five times until I caught myself and it really shocked me, this primal urge. It shocked me and it hurt me. Luckily no violence occurred."
Neeson said he was "not racist" and "was trying to show honor for a friend I dearly loved, in a medieval fashion," adding he would have had the same reaction even if the attacker was "Irish, a Scot or Brit or a Lithuanian." He revealed he later understood the error of his ways and sought out to correct himself. "I did seek help," he said. "I went to a priest, who heard my confession and also later confided in two friends and would go out powerwalking for two hours a day to get this [anger] out of me."
When asked by 'GMA' host Robin Roberts if "he understood the pain of a black person," on hearing those words, the actor replied, "Absolutely, you're absolutely right. And at the time, even though this was nearly 40 years ago, I didn't think about that. It was this primal hatred, I guess, that really shocked me, when I eventually came down to earth and saw what I was doing, looking for a fight."
Neeson's upcoming film, 'Cold Pursuit,' is set to release in the U.S. this Friday, February 8. It will release in U.K cinemas February 22. Watch Liam Neeson's interview on 'Good Morning America' below.