Red carpet event for Liam Neeson's Cold Pursuit film premiere cancelled following racially charged rape revenge comments

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

The red carpet event of Liam Neeson's film premiere has been cancelled following his controversial revelation that he had wanted to attack a black person as revenge for the rape of his friend nearly 40 years ago.

However, a behind closed doors screening of Cold Pursuit will still take place for the actors, their friends and family.

Organisers of the New York event informed reporters of the red carpet event's cancellation on Tuesday afternoon, a couple of hours before it was supposed to start.

The 66-year-old actor made the controversial comments while doing an interview on Monday to promote the film.

Discussing how his character in the film turns to anger, Neeson told the Independent: “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.”

He said the rape happened some time ago and said 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 colour were they? She said it was a black person.

“I went up and down areas with a cosh [a stick or bar used as a weapon], hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some black b****** would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know?

"So that I could kill him...

"After that there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon, so I could unleash physical violence and I did it maybe four or five times before I caught myself."

The actor has since denied being a racist after he faced backlash over his comments.

iam Neeson, left, with co-host Robin Roberts on 'Good Morning America.' Credit: PA

But his revelation has split those on social media after former footballer John Barnes came out in defence of Neeson and praised him for his honest admission.

On Tuesday Neeson appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to discuss his comments on the matter.

He said his reaction would have been the same, regardless of the colour of the person's skin.

Neeson says he later realised how shocking his actions were and sought help and put and end to his search for retribution.

"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 and made my confession - I was reared a Catholic.

"I had two very good friends I talked to and believe it or not power walking, two hours every day, to get rid of this."