Busy day of interviews discussing the Liam Neeson controversy and crisis management strategy with Sky News Ian Woods and Channel 5’s Claudia-Liza Armah, for a lively discussion with Nels Abbey and Jeremy Helligar.
I have covered many film press junkets over the years and usually the interviews are anodyne and scripted. Neeson was attempting to promote his new film Cold Pursuit and discussing the concept of revenge- the theme of the movie. Neeson’s quotes about wanting to kill a black man as retribution for the rape of a close friend are inflammatory, inexplicable, explosive- and, yes, racist.
But will the comments destroy his career? I don’t think so. The public have an affection for him after the death of his wife 10 years ago, his nephew last month and his brilliant portrayal of Oskar Schindler lives in the memory. Mel Gibson was exposed on three occasions for homophobic, anti-semitic and racist outbursts. He apologised, sobered up and worked with Holocaust survivor charities, Not that long afterwards, he won a couple of Oscars for Hacksaw Ridge.
My advice to Liam Neeson would be to lie low for a while. That’s unlikely though. Cold Pursuit premieres in New York tonight and he will soon have to promote his new film project…er, Men In Black.