In a video that quickly went viral Monday, CNN host Chris Cuomo explodes on a man after he refers to Cuomo as “Fredo,” a frequently repeated reference to the “weak” middle brother of the Corleone sons in “The Godfather.” In the video, Cuomo — the younger brother of Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — claims that people use the name Fredo “as an Italian aspersion,” declaring, “It’s like the ‘N word’ for us.”
In response, CNN came to Cuomo’s defense and officially agreed that Fredo is an “ethnic slur,” prompting a slew of posts online reminding CNN of the times the “ethnic slur” has been used on the network without rebuke.
The “Fredo” controversy began with a video posted by “That’s the Point with Brandon” that quickly circulated online. In the video, Cuomo — who doesn’t initially realize he’s on camera — threatens to “f***in ruin your sh**” and “f***ing throw you down the stairs” for calling him by what he claims is the Italian “N-word.”
CNN’s top public relations official tweeted in response that the network “completely” supports Cuomo and agreed that he was called an “ethnic slur.” “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup,” wrote CNN’s Matt Dornic. “We completely support him.”
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig agreed with Dornic’s condemnation of “Fredo” as an ethnic aspersion. “Somebody threw an ethnic slur at @ChrisCuomo,” tweeted Honig (h/t NewsBusters). “I defend every damn word he says here.”
Dornic’s tweet has generated even more backlash against CNN, with critics noting that the “ethnic slur” has been uttered repeatedly on the network — with no attempt at rebuke from anyone. Twitchy provided some posts highlighting CNN broadcasting the “Italian aspersion” to the masses, including on Cuomo’s own show in reference to Donald Trump Jr.
“Devin Nunes was referred to as ‘Fredo’ on CNN in March. CNN’s David Gregory compared @DonaldJTrumpJr to ‘Fredo’ in February. And in January, CNN’s Ana Navarro referred to @DonaldJTrumpJr as ‘Fredo’…to Cuomo on his own show,” noted Sean Davis.
On Cuomo’s show, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro slammed Donald Trump Jr. as an “entitled, rich, spoiled little brat whose only call to fame is being his daddy’s son,” and said that “daddy kept Fredo back home.”
Among those who have called out CNN for its glaring double standard was Donald Trump Jr. himself: “Does CNN’s head of PR still think ‘Fredo’ is an ethnic slur after watching this? Because if it’s the N word for Italians like @ChrisCuomo says, I don’t understand why Chris seems so at ease with someone saying it here,” he tweeted. “An excuse just as fake as his news.”
Others noted that Chris Matthews used the supposed “ethnic slur” — likewise in reference to Trump’s son — over at MSNBC:
President Trump has since weighed in on the controversy, working in a reference to “red flag” laws in the process. “Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant?” he tweeted Tuesday. “Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!”
Update: The New York Post noted Tuesday that Cuomo has actually referred to himself as Fredo in an interview back in 2010:
Cuomo was interviewed by Curtis Sliwa on his AM 970 radio show in January 2010 about whether his brother Andrew might seek the Democratic nomination for governor.
Sliwa said he dubbed the Cuomo family “la Cuomo Nostra.”
“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run, but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo.”
“Who am I, then, Fredo?” Cuomo asked in response.