Liam Neeson Guest-Starred On “Atlanta” And Joked About White People Not Needing To Learn Lessons For Past Racist Remarks

Donald Glover is no stranger to using real-life experiences and pop culture moments to inspire his art, whether it’s in his music videos or TV projects.


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And that’s just what’s been happening in his FX series, Atlanta. The latest episode drew from the headlines, featuring Liam Neeson apologizing for his past racist remarks…kind of.


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For those who don’t know, during a February 2019 interview to promote his film Cold Pursuit, Liam told the Independent that there was a time in his life when he walked around looking for a “Black bastard” to kill as a way to avenge his friend who was allegedly raped by a “Black person.”


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“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody,” Liam said. “I’m ashamed to say that — and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [Liam gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘Black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could… kill him.”

Liam addresses those comments in Atlanta. In Season 3, Episode 8, “New Jazz,” Brian Tyree Henry’s character (Al/Paper Boi) is in Amsterdam with his friends. He decides to take magic mushrooms (hallucinogens) and explore the city.



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He finds himself inside a lounge ironically called the Cancel Club. And he runs into none other than Mr. Taken himself, Liam Neeson.



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After chatting with Al for a little bit, Liam explained why he’s in the Cancel Club — AKA the reason society canceled him. “You might’ve heard or read about my transgression…you know, what I said about what I wanted to do to a Black guy. Any Black guy.”



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“A friend of mine had been raped, and I acted out of anger. I look back, man, it honestly frightens me.”



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“I thought people, knowing who I once was, would make clear who I am, who I’ve become. But, with all that being said, I am sorry. I apologize if I hurt people.”



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Al decided to lighten the mood by making a joke about him still liking the Taken franchise, despite Liam’s comments, adding, “It’s good to know that you don’t hate Black people now.”



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Liam shot back a surprising response, admitting, “No, no, no, I can’t stand the lot of you. Well, now I feel that way, because you tried to ruin my career. Didn’t succeed, mind you.”



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“However, I’m sure one day I’ll get over it. But until then — we are mortal enemies. I’ll see you around big lad,” Liam concludes as he laughs.



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Still confused by Liam’s confession, Al asked if Liam learned not to say things like that, to which Liam confirmed that he did.



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“But,” Liam added. “I also learned that the best and worst part about being white is you don’t have to learn anything if you don’t want to.”



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Al was left visibly stunned as he tried to digest what he just heard, while Liam made his exit.



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Despite the scene’s satirical ending, Liam’s actual apology went a little differently. But that only came after his remarks during a Good Morning America interview with Robin Roberts seemingly added fuel to the cancel culture fire.



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“I’m not a racist,” Liam told Robin. “I went out deliberately into Black areas in the city, looking to be set upon. It shocked me and it hurt me…I did seek help, I went to a priest.”

“If she’d have said an Irish, or a Scott, or a Brit, or a Lithuanian I know [it] would’ve had the same effect. It was this primal hatred, I guess, that really, really shocked me when I eventually came down to earth and I saw what I was doing. Going out and looking for a fight? Violence breeds violence, bigotry breeds bigotry.”

In late March 2019, Liam issued an official apology. “In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponized and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage.”



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“What I failed to realize is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact my words have today. I was wrong to do what I did. I recognize that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive. I profoundly apologize.”

You can read Liam’s full apology here. And be sure to check out Atlanta on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on FX.