Michelle Rodriguez has come to the defense of her “Widows” co-star Liam Neeson following recent accusations of racism leveled against the actor. Speaking to Vanity Fair on the red carpet at the amfAR Gala New York, Rodriguez slammed the backlash against Neeson as “fucking bullshit” and directed people who are upset to watch “Widows,” the Steve McQueen-directed heist drama in which Neeson plays the husband of Viola Davis’ character.
“It’s all fuckin’ bullshit. Liam Neeson is not a racist,” Rodriguez said. “Dude, have you watched ‘Widows’? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’s throat. You can’t call him a racist ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue — so deep down her throat. I don’t care how good of an actor you are. It’s all bullshit. Ignore it. He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies.”
Popular on IndieWire
Neeson faced backlash starting February 4 after an interview he gave to The Independent went viral for including a story in which the actor remembered wanting to indiscriminately kill a black man following the sexual assault of a good friend. Neeson’s friend had told him her abuser was a black man. Neeson appeared on “Good Morning America” the following day to declare he was not racist and that his motivation to kill was not driven by race but by the “primal urge” to stand up for his friend.
When asked if he would have had the same reaction if his friend’s rapist was a white man or another race, Neeson said “definitely.” “It would have had the same effect,” the actor said. “I was trying to show honor, to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion. I am a fairly intelligent guy. That’s why it kind of shocked me when I came down to earth after having these terrible feelings. Luckily no violence occurred. I did want to lash out because my friend was brutally raped and I was defending her honor. It was a learning curve.”
In the wake of backlash against Neeson, Lionsgate decided to cancel the red carpet at the February 5 world premiere of the actor’s new movie “Cold Pursuit.” Neeson’s scheduled appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” for February 8 was also canceled.