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Cold Pursuit premiere pulled over Liam Neeson row

Regrets: Neeson on US breakfast show

THE premiere of Liam Neeson’s latest movie was cancelled last night amid fallout from his comments about wanting to kill a black man 40 years ago.

Organisers of the New York premiere of Cold Pursuit made the announcement just hours before it was due to start.

Earlier, Neeson appeared on TV’s Good Morning America, insisting he is not a racist after revealing he went looking for a random black man to kill after a friend of his was raped.

‘Deserves a medal’: Barnes on Sky

The Hollywood star, who had been told the attacker was black and wanted to take revenge on someone of the same skin colour, said he regretted it.

Facing a backlash, the actor said the episode happened four decades ago after he had grown up surrounded by ‘bigotry’ in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

He confirmed he wanted to ‘lash out’ at the time, adding: ‘My friend was brutally raped — I would have done it. If she had said Irish or Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know it would have had the same effect. I was trying to show honour to and stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion.’

Neeson, 66, said he regretted the ‘primal hatred’ and realised that black people would be upset. He added: ‘We need to talk about these things. We’re all so politically correct. Racism and bigotry is there if you scratch the surface.’

He was praised by anti-racism campaigner John Barnes. The former footballer told Sky News: ‘I believe Liam Neeson deserves a medal. What he went on to say is he is ashamed and horrified by the way he felt.’

Neeson said after the rape he would go ‘up and down areas with a cosh… hoping some black b****** would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something. So that I could kill him’.