Michelle Rodriguez is defending actor Liam Neeson following his controversial statements on wanting to kill a black man in the past.
The actress spoke at the amfAR gala on Wednesday, Variety reported, stating her Widows co-star could not be racist because of the way he kissed Viola Davis in the film.
“It’s all f***in’ bulls — Liam Neeson is not a racist,” Rodriguez told the magazine. In the film, Neeson played Harry Rawlings, Davis’ husband and a bank robber.
“Dude, have you watched ‘Widows’? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’s throat. You can’t call him a racist ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue — so deep down her throat. I don’t care how good of an actor you are. It’s all bulls — Ignore it. He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies.”
On Monday, the 66-year-old actor faced backlash after a bizarre interview with The Independent, where ranted about a hate-filled rage he had to kill a black man who allegedly raped his friend. He later apologized for his comments.
As part of a press tour for his new film Cold Pursuit, Neeson said he tapped into his character’s desire for revenge by zeroing-in on his friend’s rape.
“God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions,” he explained in the interview.
“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way, but my immediate reaction was … I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person,” he said.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh [a stick or bar used for bludgeoning], hoping I’d be approached by somebody — I’m ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some black bastard would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could … kill him.”
The next day, Neeson apologized for his statements on Good Morning America.
“I’m not racist,” he said to host Robin Roberts. “If she had said an Irish or a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian I would — I know I would — have had the same effect,” he continued. “I was trying to show honour, to stand up for my dear friend in this terribly medieval fashion.”
“It shocked me and it hurt me,” he continued. “I did seek help.”
Neeson added that he went on a power walk to work through his anger and also attended a confession.
On Wednesday, the red carpet at the premiere of the Cold Pursuit was abruptly cancelled, but organizers told press the film’s screening would still continue as planned.
— with files from Chris Jancelewicz
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