Liam Neeson says he's 'not racist' after admitting he wanted to kill a black man
Neeson said he was 'ashamed' of his past behaviour
Liam Neeson has spoken out for the first time since an interview was published in which he said he had previously wanted to kill a "black bastard" after someone close to him was raped by a person of colour.
Speaking on Good Morning America, the 66-year-old actor described what had happened as a "primal urge" and insisted he "isn't racist".
"If she'd said an Irish, a Brit, a Scot, a Lithuanian, I would have had the same [reaction]," he said. "I tried to show honour in this medieval fashion. It shocked me when I came down to earth," he said. " That was my feeling, that I did want to lash out, because my friend was brutally raped and I wanted to show honour."
The also explained how he had responded to the incident by visiting a priest as well as "power walking".
"I’m not racist, this was 40 years ago," he said. "I was brought up in the north of Ireland. The Troubles. The Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. There was a war going on in the north of Ireland. I had acquaintances who were involved in the trouble. The bigotry. One Catholic would be killed, the next day a Protestant would be killed. I grew up surrounded by that.
"We all pretend we’re all politically correct, but sometimes you just scratch the service and you discover this racism and bigotry, and it’s there."
He added: "I remember shooting Schindler’s List, and hearing remarks from drivers who were taking us to the set, thinking to myself, ‘Am I hearing this right, this guy is making anti-Jewish comments to me, a guy playing Schindler?’ Sometimes we’d see swastikas on walls painted by people who knew we were going to the set."
The comments come after Neeson told The Independent he "went up and down areas with a cosh" hoping to kill a "black bastard", after being told that an unnamed loved one had been sexually assaulted by a person of colour, with Nesson saying he regretted the incident.
The interview came as Neeson promotes his new film Cold Pursuit, which sees his character take violent revenge against drug dealers who he believes killed his son.
Neeson has raced a backlash after the initial comments were published.
On Tuesday morning, Piers Morgan compared the Northern Irish actor to the "Ku Klux Klan" over the incident, however former England footballer John Barnes said he should be "awarded a medal" for speaking out about racism and that the story had been "spun" by the media.