Heidi Hamilton discusses Liam Neeson racism controversy and Tyra Banks' new supermodel theme park

'I'm not racist': Liam Neeson expounds on comments that he wanted to kill a black person to avenge friend's rape

Liam Neeson appeared on "Good Morning America" Tuesday, where he addressed his recent statement that he once roamed the streets in pursuit of a black person to kill after someone close to him disclosed she had been raped by an unidentified black person.

"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 maybe for a week, hoping some 'black bastard' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know?" Neeson told the Independent in an article published Monday. "So that I could … kill him."

Neeson expounded on this story to anchor Robin Roberts during an appearance Tuesday on "Good Morning America," a stop on his press tour for his latest film, "Cold Pursuit." "After that there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence," he said. "And I did it for, I'd say, maybe four or five times until I caught myself on, and it really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me, and it hurt me. I did seek help."

"I'm not racist," Neeson continued. "This was nearly 40 years ago . . . I had never felt this feeling before which was a primal urge to lash out."

The actor added that he believes he would have gone through with his plan if the opportunity arose, but that he would have reacted the same way if the rapist had been white because "I did want to lash out, yes, because my friend was brutally raped and I thought I was defending her honor."

"If she had said an Irish, or a Scot, or a Brit, or a Lithuanian, I know I would've felt the same effect. I was trying to . . . stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion," he said. "I'm a fairly intelligent guy, that's why it kind of shocked me when I came down to earth after having these horrible feelings," he added. "Luckily no violence occurred -- ever. Thanks be to God."

"We all pretend we're kind of politically correct. I mean, in this country, it's the same in my own country, too, you sometimes just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry, and it's there," he told Roberts.

Tyra Banks' new supermodel theme park is for the 'masses'

Tyra Banks announced a big new project Tuesday that involves models, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, shopping and tasty eats.

The television host and model mogul aims to bring "modeling to the masses" with her latest venture, called Modelland, named after her 2010 series of young adult books based on her life.
The 21,000-square-foot catwalk attraction launching later in 2019 is housed inside the Santa Monica Place shopping mall. Visitors will be able to engage with the poser world through multilevel ticketed experiences, restaurants and retail shops peddling Modelland merchandise, as well as items from other brands.

She told WWD the "inclusive" project has been in the works for the last 10 years -- and she hopes this will be the first of many locations.

"I created 'Top Model' to expand the definition of beauty based on my own pain of being told 'no' that I couldn't do something because I'm curvy or I'm black. My empathy for women in general increased through the experience.

And now, with Modelland, I'm taking it 10 steps forward, giving people the opportunity to engage with the elusive world by opening it up to everyone. Men, women, families, all generations can come and enter this model world for a day, have a fun shopping experience, and an eventful meal."