Liam Neeson: Actor, father … murderer? In his new film, Cold Pursuit, the 66-year-old seeks revenge following his son’s death. Now, the star is receiving backlash online for revealing he almost killed a “black” man IRL after “someone close to him” was sexually assaulted.

“The next thing Liam Neeson needs to hunt for: A crisis management firm,” one person tweeted on Monday, February 4. “Sadly, it is no longer surprising to find our faves do NOT return the favor. Zero special skills needed to turn up racism these days. Truly disappointed and no longer a fan.” Another wrote, “Soooo y’all ignore Liam Neeson’s racism or…,” while a third chimed in, “Liam Neeson has single-handedly expressed two things. 1. White Supremacy Racism. 2. Black lives don’t matter. Only a pathological racist with unbridled white supremacy racism would confess to wanting to kill innocent black people.”

In an interview with UK’s The Independent, Liam hesitantly began, “There’s something primal — God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions. I’ll tell you a story. This is true.”

Liam, who has two sons of his own, Micheál Richardson, 23, and Daniel Neeson, 22, explained of his friend: “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 color 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 [gesturing air quotes with his fingers] ‘black b—ard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him,” Liam shockingly confessed. “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

He added, “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f—k are you doing,’ you know?”

In Cold Pursuit, the son of his character, Nels Coxman, is killed by a drug gang, sparking a desire for revenge. “I think audience members live to see [that violence on screen],” he said. “They can kind of live vicariously through it. People say, ‘Yeah but violence in films makes people want to go out and kill people.’ I don’t believe that at all.”

A few days after the interview, Liam reportedly refused to comment on the story further.

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!