Chris Cuomo, a talking head who works for CNN and who happens to be the brother of the current governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, was confronted by an unknown man who started to call him “Fredo,” which was the name of the weak-willed, somewhat dim-witted younger Corleone brother in The Godfather films. Cuomo has been called Fredo before, mainly by conservative radio talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. The confrontation was recorded and posted on a YouTube channel called “That’s the Point with Brandon.”
Needless to say, Cuomo did not take being called that name very well, according to Fox News:
“No, punk-ass b—-es from the right call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN. ‘Fredo’ was from ‘The Godfather.’ He was a weak brother and they use that as an Italian slur — are any of you Italian?… It’s a f—ing insult to your people. It’s an insult to your f–kin’ people. It’s like the N-word for us. Is that a cool f—ing thing?”
Cuomo went on to threaten to throw the man down the stairs and otherwise act belligerent at the man who was provoking him. The confrontation seemed to be an attempt to get the CNN anchor to overreact and get it on video. If so, the attempt seemed to have succeeded. The video has gone viral and occupied the top of the Drudge Report page for a while.
The exchange elicited a great deal of mocking from social media. President Trump could not resist the temptation to pile on, tweeting, “I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN.” The president went on to suggest that Cuomo might be subjected to a Red Flag law, the one that allows police to take away a person’s firearms if he or she is judged to be a threat to his or herself or others.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Fredo is not like the “N-word” but rather means that Chris Cuomo is the lesser brother. Trump Jr. Also feigned sympathy. Many enemies of the Trump family called Eric Trump “Fredo” as well.
Some social media wits thought that Cuomo, by blowing up and making threats, more resembled another Corleone brother, Sonny, who was famous for his quick temper. At least one tweeted, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” a reference to Sonny’s rather violent ending.
Even so, Cuomo had his defenders. A CNN spokesperson stated, “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.”
Cuomo got support from an unusual corner, Sean Hannity, who has occasionally mocked him on his Fox News program and his radio show.
“I say good for @ChrisCuomo”
“He’s out with his 9-year-old daughter, and his wife and this guy is being a jackass in front of his family. Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology.”
Many of Hannity’s followers disagreed though. Some commented that Cuomo had used the “F-word” multiple times in front of the aforementioned 9-year old daughter. The consensus among Hannity fans is that not only did the CNN talking head overreact but also behaved hypocritically.
Still, another opinion often expressed was that guy who confronted the cable news talking head is thought to be a jerk too. The confrontation has been compared to incidents in which conservative public figures, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, have been heckled publicly and chased out of restaurants. Such behavior should not be responded to in kind.
Hot Air notes that the incident was embarrassing for Cuomo and the network that he works for. The page’s Ed Morrisey noted that the CNN anchor had every right to be angry about what was clearly an attempt to provoke him and get it on video. Where Cuomo erred was when he launched into an obscenity-laced tirade and threated physical violence against the man who confronted him. CNN should not have “completely” supported him. On the other hand, as Hannity suggested, conservatives, irked as they are about the misbehavior of the mainstream media, some think that they should not have been so enthusiastic in their mockery.