Liam Neeson has said he is ashamed to admit he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped.
In an interview published Monday, Neeson said that after being told the attacker was black, he "went up and down areas with a cosh (stick or truncheon)" hoping a black person "would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him."
"It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that," Neeson said.
Many social media users expressed shock at his admission, accusing the "Taken" star of racism.
The Northern Ireland-born actor recounted the story in an interview with The Independent while promoting his new thriller "Cold Pursuit," about a father who seeks violent revenge for his son's death.
He said the incident happened some time ago.
Neeson, 66, called his reaction "horrible," saying it taught him a lesson about the "primal need" for revenge.
Neeson, who grew up in Northern Ireland during the decades of violence known as the Troubles, said: "I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland's proof of that."
Neeson's publicist didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.