Leave Liam Neeson alone

This story surrounding Liam Neeson at the moment is the epitome of the monstrous journalism that is rife today. And it needs to stop.  

In case you’ve gotten lost with this story, I will provide a brief explanation of what all the fuss is about regarding Liam Neeson at the moment.

So, in an interview for an upcoming film themed on revenge (it’s Liam Neeson after all), Neeson was asked how he touches into the character of someone who deeply wants to take revenge. He replied by bringing up a story from over 30 years ago, when a close female friend of his was raped by a black man. In response to the incident, Neeson said he went out looking for a black person to “kill”, in an attempt to seek revenge. He went on to say that he was “ashamed” to have done this. Clearly then, Neeson recognises what a dreadful thing he tried to do, and it was 30 years ago, so all is okay, right? Not according to the press.

Here are a few examples of ridiculous headlines regarding this story:  

mirror

I’m not sure how Liam Neeson’s ‘violent past’ has been ‘exposed’. He didn’t actually do anything.  

sunBecause ‘turning to booze after wife’s death’ is totally relevant to this story…

new york times

‘Fantasy’. Of course, the headline presents the story as though Neeson was having the time of his life, knowing his close friend had just been raped. Also, this headline gives absolutely no reference whatsoever to the fact that Neeson had these racist thoughts over 30 years ago. Anyone who reads that headline could well assume it happened yesterday. Two words. Click bait.

But of course, these headlines are more than just click bait. They are actively attempting to ruin Liam Neeson’s credibility. The majority of people who read these headlines when a notification comes up on their phone are just going to assume Liam Neeson is a racist. This is what I despise about the journalism industry today. But not to worry, for I am here to provide a side to the story that isn’t, “Liam Neeson is a racist?!”

I thought I would add a question mark at the end of that sentence, just to emphasize that most people who talk about this story, don’t even know the story. Hopping on the bandwagon is never the way to go. Not when some people out there have the audacity to research…

Moving on (for now) from the disgraceful headlines surrounding this story, Liam Neeson has admitted he went looking for a black person to kill. However, it was 30 years ago. I’m not saying that what he did is fine because it was so long ago, but how can you not get over something that was that long ago? It’s not like he’s going to go out looking for people to kill tomorrow. People shouldn’t be held back because of the wrongdoings in their past. Everyone makes mistakes, and I bet if your whole life was tracked by the rest of the world, you would have some things you would be roasted for in the media. Give the man a break.

All the panic over this story has an underlying feeling of “Oh God, everybody is still racist!” Didn’t you hear him? He said 30 years ago

On Sky News last week, John Barnes, the former footballer said Liam Neeson “deserves a medal”. He went on to explain that he has “more respect” for Liam Neeson now that he has “told the truth”, compared to if he had merely hidden the story forever. I couldn’t agree more with John Barnes. But the most important thing Barnes said was that society views racism in this light: “As long as you don’t admit it, then we think everything is okay”. This is why it’s actually a good thing that Liam Neeson told his story.

Let’s face up to it. Racism still exists today. One look at the treatment of Raheem Sterling in the media makes this pretty obvious. But if these racists are punished for expressing their views, then how are we ever going to persuade them why they are wrong? They are going to keep passing on their racist views to their children, and then those children to their grandchildren, and racism will never be eradicated. But if the sane ones in our society can dismantle the outdated racist views that still exist, then racism can be ridden of.

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