'I'm not a Racist': Liam Neeson Attempts to Clear the Air After Saying He Once Wanted to Bludgeon a 'Black B*****d'

Actor Liam Neeson has denied he is a racist after revealing he wanted revenge against any black man that crossed him following the rape of a loved one.

Speaking on ABC's morning news program Good Morning America, Neeson said, "I am not racist." He did partially explain his actions by saying the events had made him feel a "primal urge to lash out."

In an interview with Britain's Independent news website on Monday, Neeson confessed he had briefly pursued a racist revenge fantasy, thoughts he said he now regrets. The interview promoting the film Cold Pursuit sparked global debate on the issue.

He said to a certain extent he sympathized with the protagonist he portrayed in the movie because of an episode following the rape of the loved one.

"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody. I'm ashamed to say that," he said, using a term that describes a blunt weapon.

"And I did it for maybe a week, 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."

Neeson admitted to Good Morning America that he was lucky there was ultimately no violence, because if an individual had approached him he might have killed the person. The Taken star said he was eventually deeply troubled by the episode. "It shocked me, and it hurt me.… I did seek help. I went to a priest," he said.

Asked whether he would have just as readily sought out a white man if his friend had said she'd been raped by someone white, Neeson was unequivocal. "If she'd have said a Brit, a Scot, a Lithuanian, I would have reacted the same. I was trying to show honor and stand up for my friend," he said.

Neeson said this experience and other incidents, such as experiencing anti-Semitism in Poland while filming Schindler's List, had convinced him that education was crucial to stamping out discrimination. He added that he believed while most people adhered to a certain political correctness, beneath the surface you could discover racism and bigotry.

"It was horrible, horrible when I think back, that I did that," Neeson told The Independent. It's awful, but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, What the f***k are you doing? You know?"