Brow Beat

Watch Robert De Niro Throw CNN Into Chaos by Saying a Bad Word

Robert De Niro makes a skeptical face as Brian Stelter asks him a question on CNN.
Sometimes there’s nothing else to say. CNN

Actor Robert De Niro stopped by CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to discuss Saturday Night Live, his upcoming Netflix movie, and his thoughts on impeachment, but it was his comments about Fox News and Trump supporters that raised the most eyebrows. Asked by host Brian Stelter about the people who criticized him for saying “Fuck Trump” at the Tony Awards, De Niro offered the following statement, which was aired in its entirety:

Fuck ’em. Fuck ’em.

Chaos erupted on the Reliable Sources set: A crew member audibly yelled “Woah!” while Stelter scolded the two-time Academy Award winner for using a bad word. But there’s really nothing to say about people who are more worried about profanity than concentration camps except “Fuck ’em,” and nobody says “Fuck ’em” like Robert De Niro. Drink in every word and gesture:

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It’s worth looking a little more closely at the premise of the question that provoked De Niro’s cursing. De Niro had just said, “This guy should not be president, period,” and Stelter seems to be headed toward one of two places: Asking De Niro if he has a response to his critics, or asking if he had considered moderating his position or his language after being criticized:

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And when you say that, folks on Fox come after you. I remember the Tonys, when you got up and cursed—a lot of criticism of you.

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There’s no place Stelter’s question could land that wouldn’t require De Niro to spend time and energy pretending that the bad faith outrage after the Tonys (and after his CNN appearance today) was worth taking seriously. It wasn’t and it isn’t, and watching De Niro refuse to pretend otherwise is positively rejuvenating. (If you want the man to act, you have to pay him.) Instead of wasting everyone’s time, De Niro immediately points the discussion back at the naked emperor cavorting around the White House:

We are at a moment in our lives, in this country, where this guy is like a gangster. He’s come along and he’s said things, done things—we say over and over again, “This is terrible. We’re in a terrible situation.” We’re in a terrible situation. And this guy keeps going on and on and on without being stopped.

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There’s not all that much anyone can say to that, so Stelter cut to commercial. When Reliable Sources came back, it was time to talk about De Niro’s experiences playing Robert Mueller on Saturday Night Live! But when Stelter brought the topic back to Trump at the end, De Niro slipped in one last dig, saying that one reason we were failing to recognize the scope of our national crisis was that “too many people are too gentle about it, too genteel about it.” Sometimes you gotta say fuck ’em.

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Here’s the full segment:

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