Superstar actor Liam Neeson insists he's not racist after admitting he had a "primal urge" to kill a black man in the wake of the rape of a friend.
In an interview with The Independent that has now gone viral, Neeson said he "[hoped] some black bastard would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something... so that I could kill him".
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The comments, published on Tuesday (NZ time), went worldwide and drew widespread derision - and now he's appeared on Good Morning America to offer an explanation.
"I'm not racist," he insisted, saying his comments had been taken out of context.
"It really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help. I went to a priest. I had two very good friends I talked to, and believe it or not [I did] power walking to get rid of this.
"I was trying to show honour and stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion... Luckily, no violence occurred ever."
Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, a black woman herself, told Neeson that while he should get some credit for his admission, he needed to acknowledge "the pain of a black person hearing what you said".
"Even though it happened decades ago, [you have to acknowledge] the hurt of an innocent black man, knowing he could've been killed for something that he did not do because of the colour of his skin," she told him.
Neeson later appeared on ABC's Live with Kelly and Ryan, where he hugged and kissed a number of audience members - many of them black - before again defending himself.