Liam Neeson’s ‘Cold Pursuit’ red carpet premiere was canceled for racism

Liam Neeson is seen leaving GMA after being in the headlines regarding controversial remarks

I know this is the wrong thing to focus on, but I’m always obsessed with the process around a celebrity who just f–ked up in a big way. We see it time and time again, and there are always teams of publicists and crisis managers just waiting for the phone call that Brosef Von Racist just showed up somewhere in blackface or Grabby McPredator has been sued for sexual harassment. What kills me about this Liam Neeson catastrophe is that there were so many ways in which it could have been ended prematurely, or he could have been convinced to give some kind of substantive clarification and apology. None of that happened.

Think about what would have happened if a publicist had taken Liam aside after his comments to The Independent and said “look, you need to get in front of this and clarify and apologize thoroughly.” Imagine if a crisis manager had sat down with Liam before his Good Morning America interview and said “whatever you do, don’t tell the exact same story, make a declarative statement about not being racist and then say you overcame racism, violent bigotry and revenge-lust through power-walking.” Just imagine. Instead, all of that sh-t really happened and the studio promoting Liam’s latest film had to cancel the red carpet premiere.

Lionsgate has scrubbed Tuesday night’s red carpet for the New York City premiere of Liam Neeson’s “Cold Pursuit” in the wake of the actor’s racially charged comments. The studio had no comment but sources said that Lionsgate decided to pull the plug on the carpet due to his revelation in an interview earlier this week with the Independent that was hoping to kill some “black bastard” upon learning his close friend was brutally raped over 40 years ago.

Reps for Neeson were not immediately available to comment. The actor apologized on Tuesday morning during an appearance on “Good Morning America” for the comments and contended that his comments were taken out of context. “I’m not racist,” he insisted.

[From Variety]

Do you enjoy how even the trade papers are half-way whitewashing Liam’s bulls–t? It sucks, but it’s fascinating to watch. His GMA interview was nearly word-for-word what he said to the Independent. He explained it in the exact same way, and you know why? Because he didn’t know – and perhaps still doesn’t know – that it’s a story about racism rather than revenge. His GMA interview wasn’t so much apologetic – it really wasn’t – as much as it was a dude just repeating the same story and adding a detail about power-walking.

Anyway, Lionsgate is probably going to lose money on Cold Pursuit, don’t ya think??

SAG Awards 2019 Press Room

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, ‘Cold Pursuit’/Lionsgate.

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47 Responses to “Liam Neeson’s ‘Cold Pursuit’ red carpet premiere was canceled for racism”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    “Liam’s latest film had to cancel the red carpet premiere.”

    Well they cancelled the red carpet, not the premiere. The movie went ahead but they didn’t want him having to talk to the media (oh NOW they figure that out!). Let’s not give them too much credit.

    It won’t really be possible to judge if this hit the box office as the movie was never tracking to do more than $7-10 million. If it goes over that we need to have a whole different conversation. Oof. But have fun at the promotional tour for Men in Black International this summer everyone! 😬 Yikes.

  2. Raina says:

    I didn’t realize one of Liam Neesons very particular set of skills was destroying his career in one interview.
    Oh boy.
    I think he was trying to make a point on how wrong he was and I think he really screwed up all around.

    • Ravensduaghter says:

      I agree.
      I tried to rationalize why he came forward with this in a post yesterday and I didn’t do a very good job.
      I think you’re right on the mark. It is my hope that he was trying to show how wrong he was and that he had changed. But, you’re right-he screwed up. I once respected him as an actor and a person, but not now. His career is done.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      I think he was using it as a learning moment which went horribly wrong.
      Nothing actually happened. The only person he harmed then and now was himself.

      I think there is a grown up conversation that can happen where people who thought or perhaps even behaved badly in the past, hated themselves for it; learned from it and moved away from that behaviour.
      More could learn from Leeson than from the current rampant racism that we have and pretend is a non issue.

      • Mylene says:

        exactly

      • Londongal says:

        Agree! I’m utterly fed up with this pillorying. He said he once *thought* (NOT PERPETRATED, THOUGHT) Awful, racist, bigoted things in the name of revenge and that he was ashamed even shortly after that one week of madness and is ashamed now. If people can’t even discuss how they have have evolved, grown and learned and ceased racist thoughts what hope do we have?!

  3. Ifeoma says:

    I don’t think his comments will affect the box office performance of the movie at all. That said, it wasn’t going to be a very profitable movie, I think a lot of people are tired of seeing him in the same roles.

    • Chaine says:

      ITA. Also movie looked incredibly silly from the trailers, like if someone decided to do a parody of a Liam Neesen revenge film.

    • Some chick says:

      Revenge movies are soooo tired. First they show something gratuitously awful, then some angry dude goes on a rampage. *yawn*

  4. Tiffany says:

    No, it is not going to bomb. You know why because people are garbage. A product put out an ad to end a social issue, burn them at the stakes.

    A white man bragging about killing a random black person, I am gonna throw all my money at this garbage to ‘own those sensitive snowflakes’.

    That is how capitalism works.

  5. OriginalLala says:

    “racially charged comments”?? why are they white-washing the fact that he is a racist and violent person??

    • Nev says:

      Word.
      Racially charged is bull. It’s plain and straight up RACIST. Liam go enjoy your millions and retire. Try not to kill anyone black in the meantime when you get angry.

    • Veronica says:

      Newspapers really cannot mess around with semantics. That’s why you see words like “alleged” or “accused” used a lot – to avoid potential lawsuits.

  6. Sparker says:

    The original film was pretty entertaining, and I was gonna rent Widows but now I’m on the fence. I remember this guy in Krull, what a shite movie. He was a thug then and turns out he still is.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I don’t think people understand, ‘Taken out of context.’

  8. Kittycat says:

    His team should be fired.

    What idiots would let him tell a story like that.

    Idiots. Complete idiots.

    • Steff says:

      I actually prefer that racists reveal themselves so I can avoid them.

    • Livelonghappy says:

      He’s the same guy who said MeToo was a bit of a witch hunt and that racial profiling was an okay thing as we all do it. I think his reaction to his friends rape has a tribalistic context (take revenge on a random black man and you take revenge against the whole tribe, which is responsible for the individual’s actions) – and that was apparently a very deep-seated mindset in Northern Ireland at the time – as well as a secondary racialised one. That’s why he says and believes he is not racist, perhaps. But he really should have known better than to share such a pointless story. I think he’s just another macho guy who hates “the snowflakes” (and doesn’t understand political correctness isn’t a thing for its own sake but has a purpose – to counter racism, bigotry, sexism, etc).

  9. KBeth says:

    I had no idea he was a jackass.

    • Polly says:

      He defended Dustin Hoffman on an Irish chat show last year and called the serious allegations against him “child’s stuff”. I knew he was a jackass but I didn’t know he was THIS bad.

  10. deezee says:

    I still don’t get why he ever told this story in the first place. Was his goal to stop his career? There are other ways to do that.

    • PhillyGal says:

      Gotta be because he is not too smart. But I’m also glad to know so I can skip his movies.

    • BlueSky says:

      My guess is because his movies are about getting revenge, he told this story about getting revenge and ended up telling a story about being a racist douche.

    • Kitten says:

      Because as Kaiser said, he didn’t—and STILL doesn’t—see why that story was racist, which is the crux of the issue here. If he had any inclination that he would get the blowback that he did, he might have kept his mouth shut. Racist doesn’t know he’s racist. Tale as old as time.

      • Christina says:

        Yes. Racist doesn’t know he’s racist. And it appears that his team is experiencing enough group think that they didn’t feel the need to warn him. Maybe like they didn’t see an issue here, either and didn’t feel the need to call somebody to ask for honest, direct feedback, which is how you act when you don’t think there is a problem. Classic privileged response.

    • cannibell says:

      “Was his goal to stop his career?”

      That likely wasn’t even on his radar screen. He was merely sharing a story about his response to someone else’s past. #Entitlement #Emotionallydeaf

  11. ThatsenoughMarie says:

    What I find extremely troubling is the amount of people trying to rationalize his comments. There were way too many people going the, well, we don’t know if he wouldn’t have done the same thing if the guy had been white, route. There were way too many people saying this was a story about redemption and that we need to let people make mistakes and grow. It’s happened so often that when confronted with blatant racism people choose to not see it, and yet each time it happens I am so surprised and saddened.

  12. C says:

    “he didn’t know – and perhaps still doesn’t know – that it’s a story about racism rather than revenge.”…..exactly! He is completely clueless about it. That makes this even worse.

  13. Case says:

    Genuinely bizzarre that he just tanked his career like this voluntarily.

  14. J ferber says:

    He’s also said he would not lower his movie salary to equalize it with his female co-star. To hell with him. Time to retire (though Mel Gibson has supposedly made a comeback bc white men always win). F that.

  15. Annie says:

    Only a white man thinks this is an ok thing to say in public: “At one point I wanted to murder a black man. Any black man. Congratulate me for curing my own racism. I’m so brave.”

    Only a white man can get away with saying shit like this too and still have a career. Meanwhile think about Megan Fox and all the opportunities she lost for saying dumb things in interviews, which don’t come close to hoping she could kill someone. It took the world over 10 years to forgive Winona Ryder for stealing at Saks.

  16. swedish chef says:

    Really? He was telling the story to show how messed up and misdirected his feeling were FORTY YEARS ago and now he is telling people this to show how he was in a low point and people are cancelling his entire career. Maybe he shouldn’t have told the story but it’s driving me nuts how people are so anxious convict someone of having a messed up time in their life. When I was young I tossed the word “f***ot” around like is was nothing. Now I won’t even write it in full because I am now aware of how hurtful and derogatory is and the suffering that is associated with it. Could it be even remotely possible that Neeson isn’t racist anymore? Have a little mercy and clarity of thought.

    • DS9 says:

      The caucasity, man.

      These are words that can only be uttered by those who refuse to see the continuing problems with racism in the world.

      Far be it from people to take Liam at his word. He expresses nothing here or anywhere else that suggests he understands how racist his inclinations were. He only seems to understand that vengeance was bad or something.

      You can’t be not racist anymore if you don’t understand that you were racist before.

    • horseandhound says:

      he wasn’t racist then either. he was out of his mind because somebody he loved got raped. if the criminal was red headed then he would’ve said: ‘I wanted to kill any red headed guy.’ that has nothing to do with race. he was crazy and in a lot of pain. I’m not saying his hurt manifesting as an urge to destroy somebody, whoever, was a sane thing. it wasn’t a sane thing. but it most certainly has nothing to do with racism. people see racism everywhere…people, just think about it. it was about a need to destroy something to feel less crazy, furious an helpless. if the rapist was white, he’d have the same urge.

      • DS9 says:

        A man who went looking for any red head to kill only isn’t racist because ginger isn’t a race. Instead, he’s a bigot.

        Taking out your anger and rage on an entire race of people because of the actions of one person in that racial group is racism.

        Not really certain why this needs to spelled out but here we are.

    • This man is not entitled to a career making millions for pretending! He isn’t entitled to my, or any other POC’s understanding, or sympathy when he has none for us!

      Go ahead and support the man, no one’s trying to stop you. But, is it really too much anymore to have expectations that people who make their living being in the public eye not be racists!? Just, wow. He’s not getting anything from me and he will deal!

  17. DS9 says:

    This whole story is a perfect example of why we cannot rid itself of racism.

    He tells a story that smacks of it. His friend was hurt and he spent a solid week hoping to pick a fight with someone of the same color to avenge her. The only reason he didn’t commit a hate crime is because North Ireland didn’t and still doesn’t have a slew of black people to run into.

    And yet he fully believes there is no racism involved here and so do a lot of people, even people here.

    Another race aspect of this story involves all the excuses people grant him due the The Troubles. Oh, it was a difficult time, people were dying, revenge killings were coming because of The Troubles, etc. The same mitigation is not granted to people of color trying to survive neighborhoods filled with poverty and overzealous policing. It’s also not granted to refugees seeking to escape poverty, war, gang violence and other effects of colonialism and European politics on nations in south America, north africa, syria, and the muslim world.

  18. phlyfiremama says:

    He is absolutely cancelled for me. Getting harder and harder to find performers that aren’t totally personal POS’s!! Racists, sexists, and abusers are ALL cancelled for me. Why do they care what I think?? Simple: $$$

  19. FF says:

    He saved relating his story until now because he knew the racist and whitewashing elements would have his back. And they do.

    He’s cancelled.

    If he doesn’t care about his career, I sure as hell don’t. There are better more talented people, who don’t excuse and parse racism and harassment, out there. We need to see more work from them.

  20. jammypants says:

    It’s weird to think he was just in a Steve McQueen film, Widows, as the husband of Viola Davis. IMO, I think he’s changed but his story of redemption came out completely as a train wreck. That said, he needs to take a hard good look at how racist he came off. His white privilege shows so much ignorance.