CNN’s Chris Cuomo was captured on video exploding at a man who called him “Fredo” and the network stood by him, claiming he was reacting to an “ethnic slur,” despite the alleged slur being used multiple times by CNN employees in the past. Warning: Video includes expletives.
The footage, surreptitiously filmed, shows a man approach Cuomo and call him the alleged slur.
The man says he thought Cuomo was “Fredo,” leading the anchor to tell him: “Punk [expletives] from the right call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN.”
“Fredo is from the Godfather. He was that weak brother, and they use it as an Italian aspersion,” Cuomo, the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, continues. “Are any of you Italian? It’s a [expletive] insult to your people. It’s like the N-word for us.”
The man says he thought Cuomo’s name was Fredo, leading Cuomo to threaten him.
A man in NY yesterday approached CNN’s Chris Cuomo and called him “Fredo”
Cuomo: “You’re going to have a problem”
Man: “What are you going to do about it?”
Cuomo: “I’ll fuckin ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs”
Credit: “THAT’S THE POINT with Brandon” pic.twitter.com/4iWwzaSQpF
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 13, 2019
“You’re going to have a [expletive] problem,” Cuomo responds.
“What are you gonna do about it?” the man says.
“I’ll [expletive] ruin your [expletive],” Cuomo tells him. “I’ll [expletive] throw you down these stairs like a [expletive] punk.”
Cuomo calls for him to “take a [expletive] swing” and gets in the man’s face, leading for people to call for security.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 13, 2019
Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s son, weighed in, writing on Twitter late Aug. 12: “I assume @cnn not available for comment. Imagine their coverage of this if they were a real news organization?”
CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic responded, claiming “Fredo” was an “ethnic slur.”
“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him,” Dornic wrote.
CNN employees have used the word “Fredo” to refer to Trump Jr. and others in years past, as has The New York Times and other news organizations.
.@ananavarro slams Don Jr. for likening border wall to zoo fence: He’s an “entitled, rich, spoiled little brat whose only call to fame is being his daddy’s son.”
“[D]addy kept Fredo back home…Who cares what [he] says. I don’t want to talk about that entitled little brat.” pic.twitter.com/zpTtp8ZfAd
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) January 10, 2019
In 2018, CNN analyst Ana Navarro was criticizing Trump Jr., calling him an “entitled, rich, spoiled little brat whose only call to fame is being his daddy’s son.”
“[D]addy kept Fredo back home…Who cares what [he] says. I don’t want to talk about that entitled little brat,” she said in a clip posted by “Cuomo Prime Time,” Cuomo’s show.
“Does CNN’s head of PR still think ‘Fredo’ is an ethnic slur after watching this? Because if it’s the N word for Italians like @ChrisCuomo says, I don’t understand why Chris seems so at ease with someone saying it here. An excuse just as fake as his news,” Trump Jr. wrote.
CNN’s Jake Tapper also used “Fredo” in the past on Twitter.
So @ChrisCuomo says that “Fredo”— a character on The Godfather— is the same as the n-word? Equating the two is the very definition of white privilege and diminishes the generations of hate African Americans have had to endure. https://t.co/vbwIAran9S
— Steven Cheung (@CaliforniaPanda) August 13, 2019
Dornic has not addressed CNN employees using the word as of yet.
Conservatives and some others said that the claim of Fredo being a slur on par with the N-word wasn’t true.
“So @ChrisCuomo says that ‘Fredo’—a character on The Godfather—is the same as the n-word?” wrote Steven Cheung, a former special assistant to President Trump.
“Equating the two is the very definition of white privilege and diminishes the generations of hate African Americans have had to endure.”