Earlier this week, a video surfaced online depicting CNN anchor Chris Cuomo yelling at a man for having called him “Fredo”, in reference to the dumb Corleone brother in the first two movies of The Godfather.
The video is nearly 2 minutes long, but it begins with the man telling Cuomo “I thought that’s who you were,” insisting that he really thought Chris’s name was actually “Fredo”. Cuomo replied by saying: “No, punk-a** b****es from the Right call me Fredo. My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN.”
He continued: “Fredo is from ‘The Godfather’, he was that weak brother and they’re using it as an Italian aspersion… It’s like the ‘n-word’ for us.’”
The man then sarcastically told Cuomo: “You’re a much more reasonable guy in person than you seem to be on television.” Cuomo later responded by saying: “You’re going to have a f***ing problem.” This prompted the man to taunt Cuomo: “What are you going to do about it?”
It is at this point that Cuomo lost even more of his marbles: “I’ll f***ing ruin your s**t. I’ll f***ing throw you down these stairs like a f***ing punk.” This prompted the argument to get a little heated, but other people in the area separated the two and prevented the situation from getting worse.
Now, there is a lot to say about this situation as a whole and what Cuomo said in the video.
First, let’s begin with what Cuomo specifically said. First of all, “Fredo” is not like the n-word for us Italians (yes, I’m Italian). To say that the name “Fredo” is like the n-word is ridiculous at best and insulting to black people at worst. There is no racial connotation to the name, but there is plenty of it for the n-word. The name may be meant as an insult, but it’s not a racial one. It’s in reference to the dumber brother in The Godfather, which even Cuomo admits to knowing prior to saying such nonsense.
Second, as much as I have seen people on both sides of the aisle defend Cuomo (and I’ll get to that), there’s no denying that the guy literally threatened violence against the man who called him “Fredo”. It’s entirely likely that the guy was heckling Cuomo and trying to get him worked up, given that there is video that was most likely shot from the guy’s cell phone in order to record the conversation, with the camera facing both men, but as Chris himself admitted the following day, he “should be better than the guys baiting me.” He definitely could have reacted better to the situation instead of getting in the guy’s face about it.
Whether or not you think the guy was sincere about him thinking Chris’ name was “Fredo” (doubtful, considering how often his name is shown on t.v. and social media) or he was really just heckling the guy, Cuomo took the bait and escalated things himself. He could’ve walked away, which would’ve been the smarter and more mature thing to do, but he let himself get dragged down to the other guy’s level. Certainly, threatening violence against the guy, even if he didn’t have any intention on doing anything, is not right.
And that’s what people on both sides of the aisle are missing: Cuomo THREATENED the guy with violence. CNN and the Left insist Cuomo was the victim of racism. He wasn’t and it’s, again, ridiculous at best and insulting at worst to claim he is the victim of racism. People like Jesse Kelly and Matt Walsh make the rational defense that people shouldn’t accost other people in public, particularly celebrities or pseudo-celebrities like Cuomo. Fair enough, and I agree, but again, half of the incident falls on Cuomo’s response to the accosting.
If the argument for Cuomo is that he was just standing up for himself, even then, there are better ways of doing it without 1) pretending you’re the victim of racism and 2) threatening violence. You can demand respect without asserting that you are willing to be violent.
And for those who might try and make some sort of argument about “Fredo” actually being a racial slur when directed at Italians, consider that multiple people in CNN have attacked others and called them “Fredo”. CNN’s Ana Navarro called Don Jr. “Fredo” live on Cuomo’s show, right in front of Cuomo, and he didn’t react in any way about it. If that name is a racial slur in any way, you would think he would’ve had some sort of problem with it being said on his show. Devin Nunes was also referred to as “Fredo” by CNN back in March by Rick Wilson and Don Jr. was also called “Fredo” by CNN’s David Gregory. Not once was there flak about it being a racial term. And all of a sudden, it’s racist to call someone “Fredo”? Give me a break.
And as far as the threat of violence goes, the Left and some people on the Right might try and ignore that, but it’s right there on video. Defend it as Cuomo “standing up for himself” all you want, but there are better ways to go about that whole situation. Even just threatening violence could give Cuomo some legal troubles, particularly as it was recorded and posted online, so being this quick to anger is never the right approach to take, regardless of whether or not he actually had done something to the guy. Even in the recording, Cuomo admits that throwing the guy down the stairs would lead to him getting sued, so he knows he shouldn’t actually do that, but the threat itself could put him in jeopardy.
Looking at the whole situation as objectively as I can, here is my final analysis:
1) The unnamed guy was most likely heckling Cuomo and trying to provoke him. Given how the video was shot, with the phone down but the camera facing up, that’s likely the case. He might have been trying to get a picture of Cuomo and himself, selfie style, so that can explain the way the camera was facing, but not the actual recording of video. That’s a different thing entirely. The guy also didn’t do much to try and deescalate the situation. At one point, he said: “What are you going to do about it?” That’s a pretty obvious tell that he was trying to provoke Cuomo into doing *something*. If he actually thought Chris’ name was “Fredo”, you would think he would’ve apologized about the mistake and tried to deescalate the situation. He didn’t do that, so some of the blame definitely falls on the guy, as far as one can tell.
2) Cuomo reacted extremely poorly, was quick to anger, carelessly claimed the name was a racial insult against Italians when it most definitely is not and carelessly threatened violence against the guy, even if he knew actually doing anything would put him in great legal jeopardy. All for being called “Fredo”, which isn’t even an actual insult. This is the same guy who often draws comparisons (which are nonexistent) between Trump and Hitler. The same guy who attacked a Catholic kid for awkwardly grinning at a Native American protester who went up to the kid’s face to accost him. The same guy who completely supports ANTIFA and what they do. Cuomo can dish it out, but the minute he even perceives to be insulted in some manner, he blows his lid and threatens violence? And this was in front of his family too.
In an objective manner, Cuomo isn’t entirely to blame for the situation, though he does bear much of it through his reaction alone. Had he gone about it differently, the situation wouldn’t have escalated like it did, or at least it would not have been his fault for the situation escalating. He did himself no favors by acting the way he did, even if he was “standing up for himself”. What he did was verbally attack a guy who, yes, was heckling him and provoking him a little, but it started because of the name “Fredo” being thrown at him. Nothing more than that.
While Cuomo may not have initiated the conflict here, he certainly did nothing to make the situation better. And considering how often he uses hateful language against other people, or allows hateful language against others on his own show, and considering he escalated things over being called a NAME, he doesn’t get sympathy from me. The Left and the MSM have applauded the heckling and driving away of conservatives from public spaces, so forgive me if my sympathy well is a bit dry.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
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