Black celebrities keep caping for Liam Neeson and we need answers.
As Shadow And Act reported yesterday, Neeson revealed in an interview with The Independent regarding his upcoming revenge film “Cold Pursuit” that he once stalked pubs in his native Ireland waiting to kill a random Black man. His “primal urge,” he said, came after a close family friend revealed she had been raped by a Black man.
“I walked the streets with a cosh [a type of bat], hoping I’d be approached by a Black [bastard] so that I could kill him,” he said during the interview. Not the one who allegedly raped his friend, but literally any “Black bastard.” Okay.
While the red carpet event for In Cold Pursuit has been canceled and many are reeling from Neeson’s admission, some Black celebs have taken it upon themselves to not only excuse Neeson’s gross racist instincts, but to also give Neeson a pat on the back for admitting his horrifying behavior.
“What he did was tell you his thoughts, which is braver than what a lot of people do,” D.L. Hughley said on his radio show. “He said out loud what a lot of people think. Most white dudes who get so enraged with Black people, ’cause…any black dude he woulda saw, he woulda beat, most white dudes that feel like they just angry at Black people and wanna get them back, they don’t admit it while promoting a movie…[T]hey join the police department.”
He went on to say that Neeson shouldn’t be dragged across the coals for a “thought.”
“…He said out loud what a lot of us know they think and we got mad at him. As far as I know, you can’t be prosecuted for having a thought. Actions are what counts,” he said, ignoring that Neeson admitted to taking a “cosh” out to a bar looking for a Black person to kill, moving from “thought” to action.
“In America, we want to have conversations, conversations that involve listening, but sometimes you hear things you don’t want to. The reason we don’t like this is we wanna be fooled. We wanna put our thoughts in his mouth. Is it unusual that a 66-year-old white man feels this way? It’s just unusual that he has the courage to say it out loud,” Hughley tap-danced.
What Hughley seems to be forgetting is that it’s not just that Neeson thought something horrendous; it’s that he did act on it, and it’s only by fate that he didn’t meet any Black men outside the pubs he was patrolling.
On Tuesday’s episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg also defended Neeson, saying that to her, Neeson isn’t racist.
“People walk around sometimes with rage, that’s what happens. Is he a bigot? No. I’ve known him a pretty long time, I think I would have recognized,” she said, forgetting the time she laughed at Ted Danson in Blackface. “I’ve been around a lot of real bigots. I can say this man is not one,” she said.
“You can’t be surprised that somebody whose loved one is attacked is angry and wants to go out an attack,” she continued. “What he did go on to say…is that he realized that t was too dark for him, he went and got himself help.”
To address Goldberg’s comments, it is true that when a person you love is harmed, you do feel unspeakable anger. However, feeling angry is one thing and seeking to hurt innocents for one person’s behavior is another. Goldberg’s co-host Sunny Hostin said as much, adding that Neeson’s actions are like “a modern-day lynching.”
“…That’s what happened to Black men in this country by white men trying somehow to be righteous about a white woman’s virtue,” said Hostin.
What cuts the most is that Terry Crews is another one of the celebs trying to see the nonexistent positive in Neeson’s statements. Monday, Crews tweeted a statement that seemed to try to draw a parallel between being baited by a white man who wanted Crews to fall into a stereotype with Neeson’s heinous comments.
“Reminds me of a time I got provoked by a rich white guy I didn’t know. Hoping I would do something. Thank God I never took the bait,” he wrote.
The second tweet showed Crews describing Neeson’s thought process as a moral crux.
“I believe that every person on earth is capable of the greatest good or unspeakable evil,” he wrote. “Liam is just describing his fork in the road.”
Twitter wasn’t having it with Crews’ comments and let him know.
He’s not describing his fork brother @terrycrews, he’s actually telling you what he was going to do and the fact he went out to a black hood and didn’t find anyone actually saved his life! The problem is he took action then, what stops him now?
— Black Twitta (@Blktwitta) February 6, 2019
Terry Crews gave all that wisdom about toxic masculinity only to pop up on here talking wild provoking folks. Teach, but then tow the line too.
— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) February 5, 2019
Why are we celebrating people for NOT killing Black men? Is that how low the bar is? Liam Neeson hasn’t even acknowledged his words, thoughts & actions were racist. All he’s said is revenge is bad as if it would’ve been revenge if he’d carried out the act, come on man.
— ✨Mizzly✨ (@mizzlywizz) February 5, 2019
Terry Crews: pic.twitter.com/HAY7zsLE1J
— Lola Milaje???????? (@_LoveLO) February 5, 2019
me: after I defended terry crews and he is there defending Liam Neeson pic.twitter.com/lOGyl48ntB
— omoze (@omozay) February 5, 2019
To Crews’ credit, he did tweet this in response to an angry responder:
This is why reading comprehension is so necessary in school.
I never defended Liam Neeson. Still don’t. https://t.co/X9xAJOuJsX
— terry crews (@terrycrews) February 5, 2019
But Crews has also had to deal with Wale, who took him to task for his “fork in the road” commentary.
Na. No. Nope. Liam is trash . We losin Brothers all the time because of this proverbial “fork” . Na fam https://t.co/FH1T7dsWRN
— Wale (@Wale) February 5, 2019
I know what we not gon do , Terry https://t.co/kDKG4mGKUC
— Wale (@Wale) February 5, 2019
Yes, it’d be great if Neeson has truly learned from his horrendous moment in time. But one fact can’t be refuted: his decision to traipse up and down outside trying to find any Black man to hurt is racist. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t hurt anyone; he had a racist thought to harm others based on their skin tone and he nearly followed that thought to fruition by acting on it. The fact that the conversation has been switched around from dealing with Neeson’s racist actions to “Is Neeson racist?” is yet another deflection in the long-standing conversation on race we keep refusing to have.