Whoopi Goldberg Defends Liam Neeson After Controversial ‘Racist’ Interview

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Whoopi Goldberg defends Liam NeesonABC/PA

Whoopi Goldberg has defended Liam Neeson following a controversial interview which led many to accuse the Taken actor of racism. 

Earlier this week, Neeson recalled a shocking story when promoting his new film Cold Pursuit. 

The actor explained how, years ago, his friend had been raped and at the time he felt the need to get revenge.

His comments received a lot of backlash, but Sister Act star Goldberg has stuck up for Neeson.

Whoopi Goldberg on The ViewABC

The Taken star first told his story when speaking to The Independent, where he recalled:

My immediate reaction was I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.

I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be… approached by somebody. I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week – hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black b*stard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.

The 66-year-old went on to explain how his reaction had shocked him and he knew it was wrong, describing his actions as ‘awful behaviour’ and ‘horrible’.

liam neesonPA

According to the Evening Standard, Neeson later further explained his story, saying he’d felt a ‘primal urge’ to seek revenge and emphasising he was not racist.

He said:

If she’d have said a Brit, a Scot, a Lithuanian, I would have reacted the same. I was trying to show honour and stand up for my friend in this medieval fashion.

I’m a fairly intelligent guy and that’s why it shocked me. I did want to lash out because my friend was brutally raped. It’s a learning curve.

Speaking on The View, 63-year-old Goldberg explained how she didn’t believe Neeson was a bigot.

She said:

People walk around sometimes with rage, that’s what happens. Is he a bigot? No. I’ve known him a pretty long time, I think I would have recognised, 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.

He realised it was too dark for him, he went and got himself help.

Neeson has explained that while his story has been the cause of controversy, he hoped it would spark a positive discussion and make more people think before they speak about such issues.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.