Actor Liam Neeson told ABC's Robin Roberts that he is not racist during an appearance on "Good Morning America" that followed the publication of controversial remarks the actor made about seeking revenge on black people after the rape of a family friend.

Neeson, 66, said he had a "primal urge" to seek vengeance and that he "deliberately" went into black neighborhoods seeking to "unleash physical violence" on someone. 

But he said this all occurred decades ago and that he has sought help for his violent feelings.


“I’m not racist,” Neeson told Roberts in explaining his feelings and behavior after what he said had been an attack on a friend. “This was nearly 40 years ago.”

“I never felt this before, which was a primal urge to lash out," he said of learning of the attack and speaking with the victim.

"I asked her, ‘Did you know the person? It was a man? His race?’ She said he was a black man. I thought, ‘OK.’ After that, there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in this city, looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence," he said.

Neeson did not specify what city he was referring to.

"I did it for maybe four or five times. It really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me," he continued. "I did seek help. I went to a priest. I had two very good friends I talked to, and believe it or not, power walking, two hours every day, to get rid of this.”

Neeson's attempts to clarify his remarks on race come after an interview with The Independent where he first admitted to seeking racially targeted revenge

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson told The Independent earlier this week. “But my immediate reaction was ... I asked, did she know who it was? No. 'What color were they?' She said it was a black person."

“I went up and down areas with a [nightstick], 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," he added in the interview.

Neeson's remarks were widely criticized on social media and have led to a series of negative headlines.

He had been doing interviews to promote his latest movie, "Cold Pursuit," which is slated for release on Friday.