The celeb-studded, red-carpet opening for Liam Neeson's new movie "Cold Pursuit" was abruptly canceled Tuesday in the wake of the actor's shocking admission to thoughts about looking for opportunities to kill a random black man nearly four decades ago.
Just hours before the premier, organizers announced there would no longer be interviews and photo opportunities at the event to promote Neeson's movie, but the film will still be screened.
The red-carpet cancellation came after the Oscar-nominated actor sparked a furor over his revelation to the U.K-based Independent he once went in search for revenge on a random "black man" following the rape of a close friend.
Neeson confessed he armed himself with a cosh weapon, hoping someone "would have a go" at him so he could kill them, but he quickly felt ashamed by his behavior.
"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," Neeson said in an interview to explain himself on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"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."
"Because my friend was brutally raped, and I thought I was defending her honor, and I admit that," Neeson added.
"It's a learning curve. We all pretend we're all kind of politically correct. 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."
The actor said, if his friend, who has since died, had told him she had been raped by someone who was "Irish or Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian," he would have felt the same.
Host Robin Roberts responded by saying she gave Neeson credit for coming forward with the story, but emphasized innocent black men could have been killed by his actions.
"I know that you're getting crucified in many ways for saying what you did," she said in a video clip posted by USA Today. "And you're not shying away, you're admitting that it was wrong, you've learned from that, but you have to also understand the pain of a black person hearing what you said."
The Associated Press contributed this report.