Liam Neeson in Cold Pursuit

Lionsgate

Liam Neeson is insisting he is not a racist after sparking outrage for comments he made about wanting revenge against a "black bastard" for raping a friend.

Neeson appeared on "Good Morning America" while promoting his new movie, the revenge drama "Cold Pursuit." When Robin Roberts asked about his recent comments, Neeson said, "I’m not a racist.

Earlier this week, in an interview with The Independent, Neeson had described an incident 40 years ago where he learned that a close friend had been raped by an unknown black man.

He related his response again to Roberts, saying, "I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence."

Neeson continued, "I did it for, I’d say, maybe four or five times until I caught myself and it really shocked me, this primal urge I had,” he said. “It shocked me and it hurt me.”

The actor also said that his background growing up in Northern Ireland had influenced his desire for physical violence.

Neeson said talking to a priest and power walking helped him deal with his anger.

"It was horrible, horrible when I think back, that I did that,” he added. “It’s awful, but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f--- are you doing?’ you know?”