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By Janelle Griffith
Michelle Rodriguez has apologized for her “choice of words” in defending Liam Neeson following his comments published in The Independent that he wanted to kill a “black bastard” to avenge a friend who had been raped.
Rodriguez said at an event last week that her “Widows” co-star could not be racist because of his on-screen kiss with black co-star Viola Davis. But on Saturday she apologized for the remarks.
“To my friends and colleagues and my fans and community: I want to deeply apologize for my recent choice of words, and poor use of example. In a pressure-filled situation, I defended a friend in the wrong way,” Rodriguez said in an Instagram post. “I now realise how insensitive it was, and I had no intention of invoking such a terrible historical comparison. I have learned from this, and will grow from it. One Love, MRod.”
The controversy began last week when Neeson, who is promoting his new film “Cold Pursuit,” said that decades ago, when a close friend confided to him that she had been raped and that it had been a black man who had victimized her, he took to the streets seeking vengeance.
“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,” Neeson said.
Neeson apologized on Tuesday and said that his comments were taken out of context.
Rodriguez, who co-stars in the thriller “Widows” with Davis and Neeson, publicly supported him on Wednesday.
“It’s all f—– bull—-. Liam Neeson is not a racist,” Rodriguez told Vanity Fair at the amfAR gala in New York. “Dude, have you watched ‘Widows’? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’ 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 bull—-. Ignore it. He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies.”
Her defense of Neeson was highly criticized with some people, including television writer and producer Shonda Rhimes, who pointed to the abuse and sexual violence carried out by white slave owners against black enslaved women.
“The lack of historical context, bias blindness and willful ignorance required to open one’s mouth and say this about racism is mind boggling,” Rhimes said in a tweet.