Liam Neeson has ''profoundly apologised'' after he was accused of being ''racist'' for comments he made about a friend being raped.

The 66-year-old actor came under fire after he controversially and candidly confessed to trying to provoke a fight with a black person after a female friend was raped and he has now clarified his comments, explaining he was expressing the unexpected ''primal urge'' to lash out.

He said in a statement: ''Over the last several weeks, I have reflected on and spoken to a variety of people who were hurt by my impulsive recounting of a brutal rape of a dear female friend nearly 40 years ago and my unacceptable thoughts and actions at that time in response to this crime. The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am. In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponised and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage. What I failed to realise is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact my words have today. I was wrong to do what I did. I recognise that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive. I profoundly apologise.''

At the time, Liam admitted his primal urge ''shocked'' him.

He said: ''I remembered an incident nearly 40 years ago where a dear friend of mine was brutally raped. I was out of the country. When she came back she told me about this and she handled the situation herself with incredible bravery, I have to say that. I had never felt this feeling before, which was a primal urge to lash out. She said he was a black man. 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, and I did it for four or five times until I caught myself on. It shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me. It hurt me.''