CNN is standing by anchor Chris Cuomo after a video surfaced showing him arguing with a man that the newsman said called Cuomo “Fredo” during a confrontation on Shelter Island on Sunday.
Cuomo, the younger brother of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is heard in the video saying that being called Fredo — as in Fredo Corleone, the incompetent son of mafia don Vito Corleone in The Godfather — is “the N-word” for Italians. Debate over whether being called Fredo is in fact racist spread like wildfire Monday.
“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic posted on Twitter. “We completely support him.”
Video of the confrontation — in which Cuomo threatens to throw the man down a flight of stairs — at a Shelter Island bar was viewed nearly 5 million times since being posted Monday night on a right-leaning YouTube channel called THAT’S THE POINT with Brandon.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo Threatening Trump Supporter with Violence! “I’ll throw your punk ass down the stairs!”pic.twitter.com/QOmdxwivWX
— THAT’S THE POINT with Brandon (@THEECONSTITUTI1) August 13, 2019
President Donald Trump weighed in on the video, calling Cuomo “nuts,” while Trump ally and Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity said Cuomo deserves an apology. Italian-Americans widely panned the idea of Fredo being a slur, according to The Washington Post.
And The New York Post reported that Cuomo once referred to himself as Fredo in a radio interview.