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Liam Neeson Is ‘Not a Racist,’ Says ‘Cold Pursuit’ Director Hans Petter Moland

The filmmaker defended Neeson as "a very decent, grounded man."

Hans Petter Moland'Out Stealing Horses' press conference, 69th Berlin International Film Festival, Germany - 09 Feb 2019

Hans Petter Moland

Christopher Tamcke/REX/Shutterstock

Following Liam Neeson’s admission that he once sought racist revenge after a friend’s rape, the director of his new film has come to the actor’s defense. “Cold Pursuit” helmer Hans Petter Moland said that Neeson is “not a racist” during a press conference for his latest movie, “Out Stealing Horses,” at the Berlin Film Festival, adding that “he is a very honest, very decent, grounded man.”

Neeson said while promoting “Cold Pursuit” earlier this week that after a friend of his was raped by a black man, 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? So that I could kill him.”

Moland also directed “In Order of Disappearance,” the 2014 film on which “Cold Pursuit” is based; that version of the story stars Stellan Skarsgård, as does “Out Stealing Horses.” “I find it disturbing and frightening to live in a world where people get punished not only for their deeds, but they get punished also for what you say,” said Skarsgård at the same press conference. “You can get punished for what you think. But most of all you get punished for what people think you think.”

Moland worries that those who have yet to see “Cold Pursuit” are “commenting on [the movie] in derogatory ways…lumping it together with something that has nothing to do with it. It’s taking my voice away.” Rather than “listening to all the Twitterati,” he said, people should try to understand Neeson’s comments in context.

He added, “I made a film about the futility of revenge. It makes fun of all the gangster stereotypes, all of the other kind of stereotypes you can think of. It’s a cautionary tale about revenge, and I’d like people to see it for that.”

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