- CNN’s Chris Cuomo is being criticized for his profanity-laced response to a man calling him “Fredo,” a reference to a cowardly and incompetent character in The Godfather.
- In the video, Cuomo says the term is like the n-word for Italians, a comment that has received major backlash from both conservative and liberal commentators.
- Several people including Fox News host Sean Hannity have defended Cuomo for losing his temper on the man while he was out with his family, but on Tuesday morning, President Trump retweeted the video and called Cuomo “Fredo,” himself.
The Viral Video
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is being criticized for his profanity-laced response to a man calling him “Fredo,” a reference to Fredo Corleone from the 1972 film The Godfather.
In a now-viral video, Cuomo compares the use of the name “Fredo” to the n-word, claiming it is a slur against Italian people like himself.
“Are you Italian?” Cuomo asks the man in the video. “It’s a fucking insult to your people. It’s an insult to your fucking people. It’s like the n-word for us. Is that a cool fucking thing?”
“Appreciate all the support but – truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me,” Cuomo said on Tuesday. “This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose.”
The Godfather films portray Fredo Corleone as a weak character, being less intelligent, more cowardly, and more incompetent than his brothers.
“I can handle things! I’m smart!” Fredo says in The Godfather II. “Not like everybody says, like dumb! ‘Not smart!’ And I want respect!”
As the viral video continues, Cuomo threatens violence, saying he will push the man down a staircase.
“I don’t have a problem with you, man,” the man says in the video.
“You’re gonna have a fucking problem.” Cuomo responds. “I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs like a fucking punk.”
Cuomo then repeatedly tells the man to “take a swing” at him. When someone touches Cuomo, presumably to remove him from the situation, he says, “Watch your fucking hands.”
The video ends with the man saying to Cuomo, “Hey, hey, look at all these cameras. You’re in for it. You’re in for it.”
According to The Washington Post, the incident took place Sunday night when Cuomo had been out with his family at a bar on Shelter Island in New York.
The man who Cuomo berates in the video had reportedly asked for a picture, calling Cuomo “Fredo,” leading up to the video.
That video was later published by the right-wing YouTube channel “THAT’S THE POINT with Brandon” on Monday after the man sent it to the channel. It was originally removed by YouTube but has since been reuploaded.
“THAT’S THE POINT with Brandon” said on Twitter that the man thought Cuomo’s name was Fredo because he listens to Rush Limbaugh, who regularly refers to Cuomo by the name.
On 8/11/19 in Shelter Island, NY. My source that sent this in says he was just asking for a photo and thought his name was Fredo from being an avid listener of @RushLimbaughEIB— THAT’S THE POINT with Brandon (@THEECONSTITUTI1) August 13, 2019
Before the video went viral Monday night, Cuomo announced that his show, Cuomo Prime Time, would be going on hiatus until next week.
Comparing “Fredo” to the N-word
Many online met Cuomo’s comparison of the n-word and “Fredo” with criticism.
“I think the guy was being a jerk to @chriscuomo,” Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro said on Twitter, “and I certainly understand Cuomo getting pissed, but there’s just no way calling someone Fredo Corleone is like the n-word. There just isn’t. That’s plain nuts.”
Many people of color also took to social media to criticize Cuomo’s comparison, citing that Fredo is a character in a film and that African Americans have had the n-word invoked upon them for hundreds of years.
“[The n-word] is a word rooted in white supremacy, the enslavement, lynching, murder, brutalization, & dehumanization of Blacks in America for the past 400 years,” Bishop Talbert Swan said in a tweet. “FREDO was a character in ‘The Godfather,’ circa 1972. They called Blacks [the n-word] in the movie.”
Response to Cuomo’s Outburst
Many, like Shapiro, have defended the reason for Cuomo losing his temper. Monday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity said “good for Chris Cuomo.”
“Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for,” Hannity said. “He deserves the apology.”
The same evening, CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic similarly backed Cuomo.
“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup,” Dornic said. “We completely support him.”
Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) August 13, 2019
Early Tuesday morning, however, President Donald Trump called Cuomo “Fredo” once more and reposted the video, saying the anchor, “Totally lost it!”
Trump later tweeted again, making references to Red Flag Laws that have sparked debate after the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Trump continues by seemingly making a jab at a recent CNN town hall Cuomo hosted focusing on gun control.
Other Uses of Fredo in Media
Since the video, many have found recent uses of the term “Fredo” by commentators and on-air hosts, including one in which CNN commentator Ana Navarro calls Donald Trump Jr. “Fredo” in front of Cuomo.
“Daddy kept Fredo back home,” she said in January. “Who cares what Donald Trump Jr. says. I don’t want to talk about that entitled little brat.”
That clip was circulated by Donald Trump Jr., who criticized Cuomo for not stopping Navarro when she made the comment to someone other than Cuomo himself.
Trump Jr. asked Dornic if he still stands behind his previous comment, to which Dornic responded by tagging Eric Trump in a comment that read, “Speaking of dumb brothers…”
Last year, Cuomo responded to a critical tweet that read, “Oh, we notice when Fredo gets testy,” after someone else said Cuomo talks loudly and is as “dumb as a rock.”
A separate audio file of Cuomo calling himself “Fredo” in a 2010 radio interview has also surfaced.
“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run,” host Curtis Sliwa said, “but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo.”
“Who am I, then, Fredo?” Cuomo asked.
SCOTUS Rules in Favor of Police in Two Qualified Immunity Cases
The move further solidifies the contentious legal doctrine that protects officers who commit alleged constitutional violations.
SCOTUS Hears Qualified Immunity Cases
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of police in two separate cases involving qualified immunity, the controversial legal doctrine that shields officers accused of violating constitutional rights from lawsuits.
The topic has become a major flashpoint in debates over police reform and curbing police violence since the protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the summer of 2020.
On one side, supporters of qualified immunity claim it is necessary to ensure that police can do their jobs without worrying about frivolous lawsuits.
However, opponents argue that judicial interpretations of the doctrine over time have given police incredibly broad legal immunity for misconduct and use of excessive force. Under a previous Supreme Court ruling, in order for officers to be held liable, plaintiffs have to show that they violated rights “clearly established” by a previous ruling.
In other words, officers cannot be held liable unless there is another case that involves almost identical circumstances.
As a result, many argue the doctrine creates a Catch-22: Officers are shielded from liability because there is no past precedent, but the reason there is no past precedent is because officers are shielded from liability in the first place.
An Ongoing Debate
Critics argue that the two cases the Supreme Court saw Monday illustrate that double bind, as both involved accusations of excessive force commonly levied against police.
In one case, officers used non-lethal bean bag rounds against a suspect and knelt on his back to subdue him. In the other, police shot and killed a suspect after he threatened them with a hammer.
The justices overturned both lower-court rulings without ordering full briefing and argument because of the lack of precedent. The court issued the decisions in unsigned orders with no dissent, signaling they did not even see the cases as close calls.
Advocates for qualified immunity claim the decisions signal that the current Supreme Court is not open to changing qualified immunity, and the most likely path for opponents of the doctrine is legislation.
While Democrats in Congress have made numerous efforts to limit qualified immunity, including most recently in the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act passed by the House earlier this year, all those attempts have been blocked by Republicans.
At the state level, dozens of bills have been killed after heavy lobbying from police unions. As a result, it remains unclear what path proponents for reform have at this juncture.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (The New York Times) (The Washington Post)
Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days
The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.
Centner Academy Vaccination Policy
A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.
According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.
“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.
“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.
According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”
In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.
Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.
Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation
In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”
“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.
The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.
In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.
According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.
The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.
See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.