The Hollywood actor has admitted for the first time that he used to have violent thoughts about killing a black person.
The Irish star said the thoughts were sparked after a female friend of his was raped.
Neeson said he used to be armed with a cosh weapon on the streets hoping someone "would have a go" at him "about something" so he could kill them.
The 66-year-old made his comments during an interview for his new film Cold Pursuit where he talked about how his character turns to anger.
Neeson told the Independent: "There's something primal - God forbid you've ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions.
"I'll tell you a story. This is true."
He said the rape happened a while ago and he found out about it after coming back from a trip abroad.
"She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way.
"But my immediate reaction was... I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a 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 for maybe a week, hoping some black b*****d would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him."
The Taken star, told the publication it took him over a week to process what had happened to his friend.
He continued: "It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I've never admitted that, and I'm saying it to a journalist. God forbid.
"It's awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, 'What the f*** are you doing,' you know?"
Neeson, who was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, said he understands "that need for revenge" due to his Northern Ireland upbringing.
"But it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland's proof of that.
"All this stuff that's happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand."
Neeson's comments caused a stir on social media.
Canadian actress Sarah Jeffrey said: "Liam Neeson admitting he camped out in front of pubs, waiting and hoping to kill a black man is... not what I expected to read about this Monday morning."
Frederick Joseph, who helped underprivileged children go and see the film Black Panther by setting up a GoFundMe page, tweeted: "Liam Neeson being ready to take any black life over what one person allegedly did just shows how meaningless and inconsequential black lives are to some.
"Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understating that there may not be repercussions."
Comedian Phillip Henry wrote: "What's most disturbing about what Liam Neeson said is everything.
"But what's particularly terrifying is the idea that the death of any other black guy would satisfy the revenge quota to the clear indication is that he knows his whiteness would protect if he followed through on it."
Meanwhile, journalist George M Johnson tweeted: "Liam Neeson is definitely a reminder that there are folks who walk around hoping to provoke black people so they can kill us. A lot of them are in law enforcement and politics."
Representatives for Neeson and film studio Lionsgate have been contacted for comment.