Clemence Michallon is the journalist who was interviewing Liam Neeson when the actor said that he wanted to kill a “black bastard” following the rape of a person he knew. The actor did not say if the person who was raped was a family member or a friend. The attacker was a black man, according to the Academy Award-winning actor. The original interview was published in the London Independent. Neeson was promoting the movie, “Cold Pursuit,” the story of a man in rural Colorado who attempts to avenge his son’s murder.
In the wake of the comments, Neeson appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” to say, “I am not a racist.” Neeson described his thoughts as being a “primal urge to lash out.” Neeson originally told Michallon, “I went up 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 I could kill him.” Neeson went on, “It was horrible when I think back, that I did that… It’s awful, but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, “What the f*** are you doing?” You know?”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Michallon Said She Was ‘Struck’ by the Gravity of Neeson’s Thoughts
In an interview with BBC News, Michallon said, “Anyone hearing the thoughts that he’s reporting here would be shocked and appalled in many ways, and he himself says he is ashamed to think of the way he used to think and says it’s awful, so of course that shock set in really quickly.”
2. Michallon Said She Wasn’t Expecting Neeson to Tell a Story Like the One He Told
Speaking to Piers Morgan on “Good Morning Britain,” Michallon said that the press junket “went by very fast” and that, “You do not go into a celebrity press junked for a Hollywood movie expecting to hear that story. I think what I felt immediately was a very strong sense of responsibility and a strong sense of duty to tell the story as sensibly as possible.” Morgan asked Michallon is there had been any discussion about editing Neeson’s words. She said, “This was a story that came from the press junket, Liam Neeson has done dozens of interviews. He volunteered the story, if you listen back to the tape- and I’ve done so many, many times, I can pretty much go through it by heart now- you know it’s not a throwaway line.”
Michallon went on to say that she felt the outrage caused by the interview was “justified.” She added, “Liam Neeson himself is apparently very stunned by his own thought process, he says it himself that it’s awful. Whether or not his career ending, I think it’s ultimately up to the studios and to movie-goers to tell.”
3. Michallon Covers, Among Other Things, ‘Gender, Women’s Rights & Body Postivity’
According to Michallon’s LinkedIn page, she covers “entertainment, beauty, fashion, gender, women’s rights, and body positivity.” Michallon has been with the Daily Mail since August 2015. Michallon has previously worked for numerous publications in France, as well as Vanity Fair’s Paris office. Michallon studied journalism at Science Po, a college in Paris, as well as City University London and a master’s from Columbia University in New York City.
On her Twitter page, Michallon identifies herself as a culture writer with the Independent.
4. Michallon Said Neeson Referenced His Famous Lines from ‘Taken’ at the End of the Interview
Michallon wrote on Twitter, amid the fallout from the article, that at end of her interview with Neeson, he asked to be “careful” if she used the story. Michallon said she told Neeson, “I am always very careful. And then he said, or else – and he switched to his other voice, his actor voice, the voice he uses in THAT Taken phone scene, and he was clearly joking – “I will find you.” Those words were spoken by Neeson in his 2008 action movie, “Taken.”
5. English Soccer Legend John Barnes Has Called for Neeson to Be Given a Medal
English soccer legend John Barnes told Sky News in an interview that he believes Neeson should be “given a medal” to his honesty. Barnes said, “Liam Neeson was talking about revenge, it doesn’t do anyone any good.” Barnes went on to say that the media “spun” Neeson’s comments to make the actor sound racist. Barnes said, “He’s ashamed and horrified because that is what he thought about all black people. After a week he realised he was wrong. That is what he said.” Barnes also blamed the media for their coverage of black people, something that Barnes believes led people like Neeson to think that “all black people are criminals.”