Liam Neeson shocked “Atlanta” viewers when he appeared for a cameo appearance on the eighth episode of the show’s fourth season. The episode, titled “New Jazz”, was written by Donald Glover. Neeson appeared as a version of himself sitting in a bar (the napkins that read “Cancel Club”) that main character Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Brian Tyree Henry) walks around in. The two have a brief chat during which Neeson poked fun at his 2019 racism controversy, in which he told The Independent he once sought to kill a black man as revenge for the rape of his friend.
“You may have heard or read about my transgression,” Neeson told Paper Boi. “You know what I said about what I wanted to do to a black man, any black man, when I was younger in London. A friend of mine had been raped and I acted out I’m looking back now and it really scares me. I thought people who knew who I was made it clear who I am, who I’ve become. But with all that said, I’m sorry. I m sorry if I hurt people.
Paper Boi tells Neeson he’s “still fucking with ‘Taken'”, adding, “It’s good to know you don’t hate black people anymore.”
“No, no, I can’t stand you all,” Neeson replies on the show. “Well, now I feel like this because you tried to ruin my career. Didn’t succeed, be careful. However, I’m sure one day I’ll get over it, but until then, we’re deadly enemies.
When Paper Boi asks Neeson if he learned that he can’t say racist things like that, Neeson replies, “Yes. But I also learned that the best and worst part of being white is that we have nothing to learn if we don’t want to.
Neeson’s real-life racism controversy arose during his February 2019 press tour for the film “Cold Pursuit.” The actor revealed that his friend had been sexually assaulted and “my immediate reaction was…I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person. I walked the areas with a cosh, hoping that someone would approach me – I’m ashamed to say – and I did for maybe a week, hoping that a ” black bastard” would walk out of a pub and yell at me about something, you know? So I could kill him.
Neeson later told “Good Morning America” that his urge to commit physical violence shocked him, adding, “It hurt me. I asked for help. I went to a priest. … I’m not a racist. That was nearly 40 years ago.” The actor pointed out that he “definitely” would have had the same reaction if his friend’s rapist had been a white man.
“I was trying to show honor, to defend my dear friend in this terrible medieval way,” Neeson said at the time. “I’m a pretty smart guy. That’s why it kind of shocked me when I came back to earth after having those terrible feelings. Fortunately, no violence took place. I wanted to take it out because my friend was brutally raped and I was defending her honor. It was a learning curve.