Amidst the current controversy around Liam Neeson, a 2014 interview with The Guardian has resurfaced in which the actor admits to racially profiling fellow passengers during flights.
While promoting the action thriller Non-Stop alongside Julianne Moore, Neeson remarked that “we all racial profile,” adding that “It’s a horrible thing to admit to do but we all do it. I know I do it.” The actor went on to recall his own experience as the subject of profiling, telling the publication:
“I’m used to it because I’m a child of Northern Ireland and from 1970 onwards any flight we made over to England, I’d be travelling on my own. I had hair down to here, single Irish guy, always pulled over.”
Neeson went on to claim that he didn’t think that the experience affected him, and that he understood it because “it wasn’t Swedish grandmothers doing all of this stuff.” The actor then related this experience to modern day procedure for flights:
“But I see now long, long lines of people and you know, some poor lady in a wheelchair that has to be escorted off because they have to put it through a machine, and it’s like come on, for f*** sake. Come on, a mother with a baby and a bottle of milk. Come on, use your brain cells, you know. However, it’s necessary I guess. These are the times we live in.”
The statements have come back into the public eye in response to Neeson’s comments in a more recent interview. Earlier this week, the red carpet opening of his new film Cold Pursuit was canceled after the star admitted to walking the streets for days in the hope of finding a “black bastard” to kill after someone close to him was raped several decades ago. Neeson quickly added that he now finds his behavior “horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that.”
The actor has since elaborated on his comments, claiming that he was “shocked” by his own “primal urge,” and that he sought help from friends and a priest to address this feeling. Nonetheless, it doesn’t look like the controversy around Liam Neeson’s words is about to go away anytime soon, with some people even calling for the actor to be cut from the upcoming Men in Black International, or at least excluded from the press tour. Only time will tell where Neeson’s career will head from here, though you can probably expect him to keep a relatively low profile in the coming months.