Liam Neeson has made headlines over his story regarding a friend who was attacked by a black man a number of years ago. He admitted that he spent a week hoping to find them in a bout of instinctual rage. There is more to the story, but somehow that’s all that was picked up by some who are now threatening to boycott his latest movie.
I usually try to avoid celebrity news because 99% of the time it’s just bullshit, and at first even this went by as an introspective interview with Neeson, who I only really know for his role in Star Wars. But seeing the mixed responses online confused me, because there was only really one way this story could be taken – positively.
Main point: this was an admission, not an apology or justification. No one busted him in some startling revelation; it was his choice to divulge this information and it was his own reflection on the incident that made him consider the racial aspect of it. He quite obviously felt bad for his actions and simply wished to acknowledge that his prejudices were misguided and overtaken in the moment. His broader message was about recognising those flaws within yourself, which is commendable and is something everyone should take the time to think about, especially in an era where there is a flood of information and people tend to react based on immediate emotion rather than logic.
If we are going to have an honest discussion about the prevalent racism in our society, then it is counterintuitive to lambast those who try and contribute to it honestly and vulnerably. If someone takes the time to realise a mistake they made in the past and admit it without being ‘caught out’, then they should be congratulated. Just my two cents.
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