Let's Talk About Liam Neeson

Nov 8, 2012
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#1
I'm guessing most people have heard this story already.

But some simple cliffs:
  • Liam does an interview in which he reflects on a racist time in his young past where one of his female friends was raped by a black man. He had fits of anger and rage over the ordeal to the point of hoping that a black man would start a fight with him because he wanted to kill one.
  • He reflects back and goes into how it was incredibly wrong and stupid of him
  • Backlash ensues - even though the entire point of him bringing it up was to explain how he is now "woke" and he was basically bringing it up to admit that what he was thinking was stupid
  • Various shows/films are cancelled to spite this
  • Social Justice Warrior Political Correctness wins again.

Does anyone not see the harm in all of this? This isn't a case where something damning was discovered about someones past (e.g. finding a picture of you dressed as black-face in an old yearbook). This was a case where the person brought it up themselves to reflect on how stupid they were as a kid and how much they have learned from their past stupidity.

It just seems like taking a step backwards instead of forward when you shun people for something like this. This is a person that came forward to condemn himself.



Background Info + Latest:



LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The New York celebrity red carpet event on Tuesday for actor Liam Neeson’s new film “Cold Pursuit” has been canceled in the wake of an interview in which Neeson said he wanted to kill a black man in response to the rape of a friend who said her attacker was black.

that a red carpet, where movie stars pose for photos and speak with reporters, would be inappropriate.

The U.S. premiere for the movie, in which Neeson plays a man seeking revenge for his son’s killers, will still go ahead on Tuesday.

Responding to the backlash his comments had drawn, the 66-year-old Irish star told the U.S. television network ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that “I’m not a racist.”

Neeson said he had learned that society needed to have a larger discussion to end racism and bigotry.

On Monday, Neeson told the British newspaper The Independent that he related to characters in his movies such as “Taken” who seek revenge when someone close to them is hurt. He said a female friend told him decades ago that she had been raped by a man who was black.

Neeson told the newspaper he had spent “maybe a week” walking near pubs with a heavy stick and “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 Independent said Neeson put air quotes around the term “black bastard.” The newspaper posted audio from the interview on its website.

On Tuesday, Neeson told “GMA” that he had felt a “primal urge to lash out” at the time.

“I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon,” he said. “It shocked me and it hurt me ... I did seek help, I went to a priest.”

Neeson said no violence occurred. He said he would have been looking for a white man if his friend had identified her attacker as white.

“It was horrible, horrible when I think back, that I did that,” Neeson said on “GMA. “It’s awful, but I did learn a lesson from it.”
 
Mar 1, 2000
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#2
Most people have been giving him a pass on this for the specific reasons you've outlined. It's basically him saying "Yeah, there was a moment/time where I was not thinking straight and was being racist in my thoughts and actions. I've changed. I've grown. And I'm not longer that person"

Isn't this pretty much what we want all current racists to do? Change their mindset and own up to their racism and leave it behind?
 
Jan 25, 2011
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#3
Most people have been giving him a pass on this for the specific reasons you've outlined. It's basically him saying "Yeah, there was a moment/time where I was not thinking straight and was being racist in my thoughts and actions. I've changed. I've grown. And I'm not longer that person"

Isn't this pretty much what we want all current racists to do? Change their mindset and own up to their racists and leave it behind?
SO much this. We are getting to the point that no one will ever be able to promote growth and change beyond just old thoughts they had when they were less informed or less experienced in the world.

The zero tolerance shit needs to slow down. There should be things that people can grow beyond that won't completely destroy their lives if they share the experience. This is one of those things.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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#4
Most people have been giving him a pass on this for the specific reasons you've outlined. It's basically him saying "Yeah, there was a moment/time where I was not thinking straight and was being racist in my thoughts and actions. I've changed. I've grown. And I'm not longer that person"

Isn't this pretty much what we want all current racists to do? Change their mindset and own up to their racists and leave it behind?
This is the goal and people will attack him and others anyway depending on their agenda even if there was no racist intent. There exists a powerful "be cool or be cast out" sentiment of lifelong perfection or expulsion to a "deplorable" list. A recent claim that I haven't investigated was about a Michael Jackson look-alike contest and part of it entailed as faithful a representation as possible which meant "blackface".

It could have been bull and entirely racist in intent, but that wouldn't matter. No matter how it was done or the reason that person would be excoriated decades later.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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#5
Don't cast your pearls before swine. The internet has given millions of swine who once oinked in their own darkness a voice. This infection has become all the rage. We even have a dislike button in this forum now because of it.
 

vi edit

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 28, 1999
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#6
SO much this. We are getting to the point that no one will ever be able to promote growth and change beyond just old thoughts they had when they were less informed or less experienced in the world.

The zero tolerance shit needs to slow down. There should be things that people can grow beyond that won't completely destroy their lives if they share the experience. This is one of those things.
Exactly. You can't have any progress if you punish people for attempted progress.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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#7
Exactly. You can't have any progress if you punish people for attempted progress.
It is the nature of pigs that they do not want their pigsties improved. The sty is a place to wallow.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
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#8
I disagree with you all.

I think the big problem here is _how_ he talked about it when he first bought it up.

The issue is that he seemed to bring it up in the context of talking about the futility of seeking vengeance. But he didn't really show much sign of grasping, at least in the interview itself, that the bigger problem wasn't that he was out seeking violent revenge but that he was seeking revenge on black people in general, not just the alleged rapist. He was employing the trope known as 'out-group homogeneity'. AKA (in this instance) racism.

He was apologetic and repentant about the vengeance-seeking, but in the initial comments he didn't really seem to put nearly enough emphasis on the fact he wasn't out looking for vengeance on the perpetrator, but just on any random black guy. There are two different moral issues there, and he only appeared to be fully aware of one of them.

Later he seemed to grasp that he'd gotten that wrong, but it seemed to take him a while to understand what the problem was.

Which all, to me, suggests its not just 40-years-ago-Neeson that has something to rethink. Present-day-Neeson seemed to have an unfortunate lack of awareness of what racism is.

The only defence I can think of is that he comes from Northern Ireland, where this, I presume, happened. Where group-blaming is a way-of-life for many. His idea that any black guy would do, for the purposes of 'revenge', is directly analogous to the mentality of sectarian killings (there's even a phrase for that, with the acronym ATWD, where the T is a derogatory term for Neeson's own community). Not a strong defence, but I suppose if you grow up in an environment where that sort of thinking applies to everyone, including white people, including even yourself, you might not immediately think about it in terms of racism.

(Also I thought 'Taken' was kind of a racist film...quite a decline from Michael Collins...Though 'Unknown' wasn't too bad...but how many movies is he going to make following the same man-seeks-vengeance template? Is someone going to kidnap his dog next? Oh, though Keanu Reeves has already done that one...)
 
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vi edit

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 28, 1999
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#9
I disagree with you all.

I think the big problem here is _how_ he talked about it when he first bought it up.

The issue is that he seemed to bring it up in the context of talking about the futility of seeking vengeance. But he didn't really show much sign of grasping, at least in the interview itself, that the bigger problem wasn't that he was out seeking violent revenge but that he was seeking revenge on black people in general, not just the alleged rapist. He was employing the trope known as 'out-group homogeneity'. AKA (in this instance) racism.

He was apologetic and repentant about the vengeance-seeking, but in the initial comments he didn't really seem to put nearly enough emphasis on the fact he wasn't out looking for vengeance on the perpetrator, but just on any random black guy. There are two different moral issues there, and he only appeared to be fully aware of one of them.

Later he seemed to grasp that he'd gotten that wrong, but it seemed to take him a while to understand what the problem was.

Which all, to me, suggests its not just 40-years-ago-Neeson that has something to rethink. Present-day-Neeson seemed to lack an unfortunate awareness of what racism is.

The only defence I can think of is that he comes from Northern Ireland, where this, I presume, happened. Where group-blaming is a way-of-life for many. His idea that any black guy would do, for the purposes of 'revenge', is directly analogous to the mentality of sectarian killings (there's even a phrase for that, with the acronym ATWD, where the T is a derogatory term for Neeson's own community). Not a strong defence, but I suppose if you grow up in an environment where that sort of thinking applies to everyone, including white people, including even yourself, you might not immediately think about it in terms of racism.
I don't know you. I don't know where you grew up. I don't know what your friends and family were like.

I'm going to be 41 years old later this month. I grew up in central IL in a little podunk town. My town had a single. Single. Non-white family. No blacks. No asians. No hispanics. Except 1 black household. I distinctly remember my Grandpa telling me at some time in high school "I better not go and marry any n-words". The only exposure I had to non-white people was when we "went to the city" and you only saw the worst parts of those communities. My only exposure in the news was gang shootings or muggings that were almost entirely blacks.

Most of entire youth was bubble of white people and white people telling me to fear non-white people. I WAS BORN IN 1978. Not 1940.

When I had kids my wife and I made an intentional decision to remove our kids from that environment and actually expose them to some kids of other races. To this day it's continuous process to improve myself and reprogram everything that was put into me as a kid. Other than my racist as shit grandpa, I grew up in an entirely unhateful household and extended family. But the environment, peers, and just my overall lack of exposure to anything but middle class white folk just built up a wall that prevented any understanding of anyone else that wasn't like me.

Racism is a choice and it's a feeling that you are simply a superior person than another. But having a deep rooted bias and just flat out ignorance is an entirely different issue and it's much harder to square and understand. A lot of people aren't racist. They are just simply ignorant and have lifelong upbringing that has programmed them for bias. If you never leave the very environment that programmed you, people outside of that bubble can easily judge you as racist. I never chose that. But I did choose to try and break it.
 
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cytg111

Diamond Member
Mar 17, 2008
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#11
Wake up today a better man than I was yesterday... I dont know, I think the studios is over sensitive in the wake of #metoo .. Same with that guardians of the galaxy director who wrote something on social media 20 years ago and thus must now be fired. Or Mel Gibson having a fit in a 3 day whiskey bender saying stuff trying to hurt someone, one, not a whole section of people.
Common already.
I know I wouldnt want to be judged like that, I was not always as clever as I am today ;).
 
Mar 25, 2001
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#12
Outrage culture at its finest. Everyone in their lives have done bad things. There’s not a soul alive other than Tawnee Stone that can claim to have never committed a wrong. And in his case it was done as a self reflection on a dark moment of his life and the feelings he was sorting out, and we get the pitchforks out for this? We’re very quickly slipping into some sort of dystopia where you constantly have to be paranoid of your life being derailed. The internet never forgets nor does it seem to have anything but the most shallow of discretion on who to e-mob or not. Constantly being outraged is a very regressive not progressive way to live.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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#13
More Liberal Outr-- oh wait... UC's version of reality isn't actual reality:
 
Nov 25, 2013
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#14
In a month (at most) it will be pretty much forgotten although I'm guessing that there will be some memes floating around the interwebs.
 
Oct 6, 2009
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#16
Don't cast your pearls before swine. The internet has given millions of swine who once oinked in their own darkness a voice. This infection has become all the rage. We even have a dislike button in this forum now because of it.
My favorite saying.
 
Mar 25, 2001
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#18
https://variety.com/2019/film/news/...ments-upcoming-films-men-in-black-1203133278/

“You are no hero for your admission. You are a representative of racial terror,” wrote New York Times columnist Charles Blow.​
Director Ava DuVernay tweeted that Neeson’s comments were textbook white privilege, saying, “When people ask me what white privilege is. Imagine if this was Will Smith.”​
:rolleyes:

Lionsgate canceled the red carpet premiere of “Cold Pursuit” for fear of perpetuating the ugliness of the story, individuals familiar with the event told Variety
..
Several projects remain on the line, including the high-profile Sony Pictures summer release “Men in Black: International.” A group of film fans called for Neeson’s removal from the film, as was done with another Sony release, “All the Money in the World,” which reshot the entire role filmed by actor Kevin Spacey following accusations of sexual assault against him.​

And here we are.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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#19
Being angry about his friend being raped is called compassion.
You might want to look up what compassion is. Murderous rage isn't really in there...
 
Dec 12, 2000
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#20
Several projects remain on the line, including the high-profile Sony Pictures summer release “Men in Black: International.” A group of film fans called for Neeson’s removal from the film, as was done with another Sony release, “All the Money in the World,”
Here we go again...
 

sportage

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2008
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#21
Talk? Why?
He's just a movie star, a face on the big screen, other than that we no nothing about the real him, and frankly I don't care to know.
He's not a relative nor acquaintance.
I wouldn't let him lecture my kids or tell me right from wrong or advise me on anything other than if I were going to star in some movie, then I might ask him for some acting advise.
Why do people treat these celebrities, sports figures, and politicians as if they were the pillars of wisdom, moral expertise, and worth listening to outside of the theater or stadium or statehouse?
For all we know that are idiots, rapist, whores and murderers.
They have a talent in front of the camera, or talent to toss a ball, or an ability to con people into giving up their votes.
Thats all.
 
Mar 25, 2001
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#22
Why do people treat these celebrities, sports figures, and politicians as if they were the pillars of wisdom, moral expertise, and worth listening to outside of the theater or stadium or statehouse?
Agree with you 100% on this. Makes no sense.
 

GodisanAtheist

Golden Member
Nov 16, 2006
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#25
Talk? Why?
He's just a movie star, a face on the big screen, other than that we no nothing about the real him, and frankly I don't care to know.
He's not a relative nor acquaintance.
I wouldn't let him lecture my kids or tell me right from wrong or advise me on anything other than if I were going to star in some movie, then I might ask him for some acting advise.
Why do people treat these celebrities, sports figures, and politicians as if they were the pillars of wisdom, moral expertise, and worth listening to outside of the theater or stadium or statehouse?
For all we know that are idiots, rapist, whores and murderers.
They have a talent in front of the camera, or talent to toss a ball, or an ability to con people into giving up their votes.
Thats all.
- While I agree with your core concept of "why should we care" we live in a world and culture where people *do* care.

Like its own form of the Gospel of Wealth, people see movie stars and celebrities as inherently right/correct because of their popularity or success (this person is famous therefor they must possess wisdom/knowledge).

When these people display very human failings, some people latch on because of the schadenfreude and others because they don't want this person's beliefs to validate through their status some ugly part of the rest of us.
 

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