CNN's Cuomo explodes in profanity-laden rant over his nickname, threatens violence, likens Godfather reference to n-word; CNN supports him
Obviously, the stranger who called Chris Cuomo "Fredo" touched a very sensitive nerve in the anchor for the third-rated cable news operation. As the son and brother of two governors of New York, Chris may feel himself an underachiever, perhaps occupying his position of prominence solely on the basis of his family ties. That could explain the vehemence, verbal thuggery, and victimology of the unhinged rant that followed.
Warning: the video embedded below is NOT SAFE FOR WORK:
In case you are not able to listen to the vile language where you are reading this, here are some narrated excerpts, courtesy of the Washington Examiner:
"Punk-a‑‑ b‑‑‑‑‑‑ on the right call me Fredo," Cuomo says, and goes on to explain why he finds that name offensive.
"Fredo was from The Godfather," Cuomo said. "He was a weak brother. And they use it as an Italian aspersion. Are any of you Italian? Are you Italian? It's a f‑‑‑‑‑‑ insult to your people. It's an insult to your f‑‑‑‑‑‑ people." He then claimed that "Fredo" is the N-word to Italians. "Is that a cool f‑‑‑‑‑‑ thing?"
The other man in the video then mockingly tells Cuomo that he is "a much more reasonable guy in person than you seem to be on television," to which Cuomo responds, "If you want to play, we'll f‑‑‑‑‑‑ play."
After further back-and-forth, Cuomo said, "You're gonna have a f‑‑‑‑‑‑ problem. It's a little different on TV. Don't f‑‑‑‑‑‑ insult me like that. You called me Fredo, like I call you 'punk b‑ ‑ ‑ ‑.'"
Taking off his glasses, the other man says, "I don't have a problem, man," but then Cuomo reiterates that he is going to, and then threatens to "ruin your s‑‑‑" and "f‑‑‑‑‑‑ throw you down these stairs like a f‑‑‑‑‑‑ punk."
Others get between the two to break up the altercation before the video ends.
For those few unfamiliar with the Godfather trilogy (or original novel), Fredo is the dim-witted, untalented yet pretentious brother of the Corleone crime family. His most famous moment in the films is this:
CNN rushed to defend its anchor, heedless of the threat of violence and impolite language:
"Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup," CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said in a statement on Twitter. "We completely support him."
Naturally, the video quickly became trending on Twitter, sparking plenty of stinging commentary.
There is one gigantic problem with Cuomo's rant: He used the term to criticize Donald Trump, Jr.:
.@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."— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) January 10, 2019
"[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
Naturally, DJT Jr. responded:
But Cuomo-Trump is not the sole example of "Fredo" being used on CNN's airwaves:
Devin Nunes was referred to as “Fredo” on CNN in March. CNN’s David Gregory compared @DonaldJTrumpJr to “Fredo” in February. And in January, CNN’s Ana Navarro referred to @DonaldJTrumpJr as “Fredo”...to Cuomo on his own show. https://t.co/jXCUfFkYvs— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) August 13, 2019
These examples from CNN demonstrate that "Fredo" is not an ethnic slur — unless you believe that the Trumps and Devin Nunes are secretly Italians.
Unfortunately, from Chris Cuomo, his reaction has placed on the public agenda the question of his intelligence and worthiness for his position. Tucker Carlson has been questioning his admission to Yale as part of his criticism of the corruption of admissions to elite colleges (and the ruling class for which they serve as gatekeepers):
Photo credit: Senator Chris Coons.