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I wull hont you dine and I wull kull you.

So said Liam Neeson in that famous speech from Taken. Neeson is now in big trouble for remarks he made while displaying a similar desire for vengeance in real life. He revealed that, armed with a cosh, he went looking for any “black bastard” because a man with dark skin had raped a friend of his. What possessed him to tell that story and use such racist language to do so? His career is now said to be as fatally wounded as his many victims in Taken. But is it? Elvis Costello’s career survived calling Ray Charles a “blind ignorant n**ger”. And Eric Clapton’s survived his delivering an appallingly racist rant from the stage in Birmingham. The terms he used that night were unprintably vile, even for the 1970s. If he used them today, he’d probably be in jail. And unlikely to be singing “I Feel Free”.

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