Angry Internet users, including director Ava DuVernay, are pushing for Columbia Pictures to digitally remove Liam Neeson from ‘Men in Black: International’ after the action star made racist comments. When asked how he got into revenge mode for his latest flick ‘Cold Pursuit’, Neeson recalled a story from 40 years ago, after a friend had been raped.
“We were doing a press junket and the topic of our film was revenge. The lady journalist was asking, ‘How do you tap into that?’ and I remembered an incident nearly 40 years ago when a friend of mine was brutally raped I was out of the country and when I came back she told me about this … I had never felt this feeling before which was a primal urge to lash out.”
Neeson went further discussing going to a “black area” of town, hoping that someone would attack him so that he could “kill a black bastard.”
In 2017, director Ridley Scott digitally removed Kevin Spacey from the drama ‘All the Money in the World’ after Spacey was accused of attempting to seduce fellow actor Anthony Rapp when he was only 14 and Spacey was in his twenties. Afterword, other men came forward with similar accusations against Spacey. Scott hired Christopher Plummer to replace Spacey in ‘All the Money in the World’ and some have joked that ‘MIB:I’ director F. Gary Gray should likewise hire Plummer to replace Neeson in the upcoming sci-fi comedy.
I guess Sony pictures will soon be hiring Christopher Plummer to replace Liam Neeson in the upcoming Men In Black reboot.#LiamNeeson
— Kent Tayler (@taylertoons) February 4, 2019
Christopher Plummer is currently reshooting Liam Neeson’s scenes in Men In Black International…. pic.twitter.com/Nt0543NFxe
— soapy pitts (@boosh71) February 4, 2019
Others weren’t in a joking mood. Here is one reaction:
I really hope it’s not too late to digitally erase that racist fuck Liam Neeson from the new Men In Black movie
— No, My Name is Grizz (@fakecult) February 4, 2019
Meanwhile, DuVernay wrote a lengthy series of tweets on white privilege and asked how people, including those in Hollywood, would react if original ‘MIB’ star Will Smith told a story about wanting to “kill a white bastard.”
As for ‘Men in Black: International’, it’s unclear how large a role Neeson plays in the film, but it seems pretty substantial, as he is featured on the poster, along with headliners Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. It was one thing to replace Kevin Spacey in ‘All the Money in the World’ because he had a small part, but there may be no way to take Neeson out without having to reshoot a significant chunk of the film.
In the meantime, ‘Cold Pursuit’ opens this weekend. It should be interesting to see how this bad publicity will impact that film’s performance.
What do you think? Should Neeson be taken out of ‘MIB:I’?
‘Men in Black: International’ is scheduled to open on June 14.