In his Season 3 cameo appearance written by Donald Glover, the Taken action star played a fictitious version of himself who chats up Brian Tyree Henry’s Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles at a bar called Cancel Club.
“You might’ve heard or read about my transgression,” Neeson says on the show, referencing his racially-charged controversy back in 2019. “You know, what I said about what I wanted to do to a Black guy, any Black guy, when I was a younger man in London. A friend of mine had been raped and I acted out of anger. I look back now and it honestly frightens me. 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.”
Henry’s character takes Neeson’s apology in stride, admitting he “still fucks with Taken,” before adding, “It’s good to know that you don’t hate Black people now.” But that’s when the conversation with the actor takes an uncomfortable left turn, as he states, “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. However, I’m sure one day I will get over it but until then, we are mortal enemies.”
As his final, privileged blow, this character of Liam Neeson adds, “I also learned that the best and worst part of being white is that we don’t have to learn anything if we don’t want to.”
In real life, Neeson decided that it was a good idea to relay his story of attempted white vengeance while on the press tour for his 2019 film Cold Pursuit — first to UK outlet The Independent, and then with an apology on Good Morning America. He said that after learning his friend had been brutally raped, he “went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – 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?” He soon apologized, saying, “I’m not racist,” and explaining, “This was nearly 40 years ago.”
Last month, Consequence ranked the actor’s action films from worst to best, including The Ice Road, Honest Thief, The Commuter, and, of course, all three Taken movies.