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Robert De Niro Says Speech Blasting Trump Was Cut at Film Awards

REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
The 76th Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film “Killers of the Flower Moon” Out of Competition – Cannes, France, May 21, 2023.

Robert De Niro has accused the organizers of a film awards ceremony of editing his speech without permission, removing critical remarks of former president Donald Trump and other political comments.

De Niro was presenting the Historical Icon and Creator Tribute award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday, when, mid-speech, he paused and looked confused as he read off the teleprompter.

De Niro continued with his speech, and then said: “I just want to say one thing. The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out, I didn’t know about it. And I want to read it.”

The 80-year-old star, who was presenting an honor for the film “Killers of the Flower Moon,” in which he stars, then reached for his phone and began reading from what appeared to be the original, unedited script.

“History isn’t history any more,” De Niro said. “Truth is not truth. Even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness.” The actor cited changes to Florida’s the Black history curriculum, that require students to be taught that enslaved people “developed skills” that “could be applied for their personal benefit,” and added that “the entertainment industry isn’t immune to this festering disease.”

“Lying has become just another tool in the charlatan’s arsenal,” he added. “The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four years in office, and he’s keeping up the pace in his current campaign of retribution,” he said. “But with all his lies, he can’t hide his soul.”

According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker team, Trump told more than 30,500 untruths during his presidency – averaging about 21 erroneous claims a day.

“He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature, and shows disrespect, for example, by using Pocahontas as a slur,” De Niro said, referring to Trump’s regular usage of the Indian chief’s daughter as a slight against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who has some Native American ancestry in her family tree.

“This is where I came in and I saw they edited all that,” De Niro told the crowd as some cheered and clapped.

De Niro, who starred in “Killers of the Flower Moon” alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone, told those watching that he was supposed to honor Apple, the producer of the film, but did not “feel like thanking them” after some of his speech was allegedly cut.

“So I’m going to say these things, but to Apple and thank them and all that, Gotham, blah blah blah, Apple, but, who – I don’t feel like thanking them at all, for what they did. How dare they do that, actually,” he said.

Apple and the Gotham Independent Film Awards did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Monday.

De Niro has long been a critic of Trump, blasting him multiple times, including in an expletive laden rant at the Tony Awards in 2018 and then at a ceremony in Toronto, apologizing to Canadians for the “idiotic behavior of my president.”

During Trump’s presidency, De Niro referred to him as the “baby in chief” and amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, De Niro branded Trump a “lunatic” who “doesn’t care how many people die” from the virus.

Trump, for his part, responded to past criticism from De Niro by taking to X, formerly Twitter, to call him a “very Low IQ individual,” while De Niro’s critics, including those at Fox News, have previously said that his rants come across as elitist, or argued that his remarks could merely be fueling Trump’s base.