Liam Neeson tackles his racism controversy in ‘Atlanta’ cameo

Spoilers ahead for the 'Atlanta' episode ‘New Jazz’

Liam Neeson has made a cameo appearance in the latest episode of Atlanta, which deals with his past racism controversy.

In a 2019 interview with The Independent while promoting the revenge film Cold Pursuit, the actor recounted a story where he admitted he once went looking for a “Black bastard” to kill after learning a close friend had been raped by a Black man.

Recalling the incident, Neeson said: “I 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.”


His comments were put back under the spotlight in the Atlanta episode ‘New Jazz’, where Alfred Miles, aka Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), has a sequence of hallucinatory encounters after consuming “Nepalese space cakes” in Amsterdam.

One encounter involves meeting Neeson at a bar called “Cancel Club”. In the segment, Neeson reiterates the interview was coming from a place of shame, but apologises if his comments “hurt people”.

After Al remarks that it’s “good to know that you don’t hate Black people now”, this version of Neeson responds: “No, no, no, I can’t stand the lot of ya… I feel that way because you tried to ruin my career. Didn’t succeed, mind you.”

When a troubled Al asks the actor if he’s learned not to say comments like that, Neeson acknowledges he did, before adding: “But I also learned the best and worst part about being white is you don’t have to learn anything if you don’t want to.”

This is Neeson’s second cameo appearance in recent months, after the actor appeared as a police inspector in Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls.


He also recently addressed whether he would return to the Star Wars franchise as Qui-Gon Jinn in light of Ewan McGregor’s return in Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“I think so, yeah… if it was a film,” Neeson said. “I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to TV, I must admit, I just like the big screen, you know?”

Created by and starring Donald Glover, Atlanta’s third season shifts location to Europe as Earn (Glover) joins Paper Boi on his rap tour. The third season airs on FX in the US and will be available to stream on Disney+ in the UK from June 29.