CNN primetime host Christopher Cuomo broke his silence Tuesday regarding a viral undercover video showing the network anchor threatening physical violence against an unidentified man for calling him “Fredo.”
“Appreciate all the support but – truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose,” Cuomo, who is reportedly on vacation, wrote on Twitter.
Appreciate all the support but – truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose.
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) August 13, 2019
Cuomo’s statement comes as CNN says it completely supports the anchor after he was seen on video threatening to push a man down some stairs during a confrontation after the man apparently called him “Fredo,” in a seeming reference to the Godfather movies. CNN spokesman Matt Dornic tweeted that Cuomo “defended himself” after being slurred in what he called “an orchestrated setup.”
The video appeared Monday on a YouTube channel with the title “That’s the Point with Brandon.” Host Brandon Recor told the Washington Post the exchange happened Sunday at a bar in Shelter Island, New York, after a man approached Cuomo for a picture.
It doesn’t show the “Fredo” reference but depicts Cuomo’s profanity-laced reaction as he characterizes the comment as an anti-Italian slur. The man says he thought “Fredo” was Cuomo’s name.
A partial transcript of Cuomo screaming about being called “Fredo” is as follows:
INDIVIDUAL #1: I thought that’s who you were.
CHRIS CUOMO: No, punk ass bitches from the right call me Fredo. My name is Chris Cuomo, I’m an anchor on CNN. Fredo is from The Godfather. He was that weak brother. And they use it as an Italian aspersion. Any of you Italian?
INDIVIDUAL #1: I got a little bit Italian.
CUOMO: Are you Italian? It’s a fucking insult to your people.
INDIVIDUAL #2: I didn’t know that.
CUOMO: It’s an insult to your fucking people. It’s like the N-word for us. Is that a cool fucking thing?
In another part of the video, Cuomo suggests he’s prepared to fight with the man who called him the nickname.
INDIVIDUAL #1: I don’t have a problem with you man.
CUOMO: You’re going to have a fucking problem.
INDIVIDUAL #1: What? What are you going to do about it?
CUOMO: Take a swing. No, no. Come on boy. You want to call me shit, call me shit then. I’m right fucking here. I’ll fucking wreck your shit. I’ll fucking wreck your shit.
Despite Cuomo’s new-found objection to the term “Fredo,” at least two network guests have used the term while on the air.
“[D]addy kept Fredo back home…Who cares what [he] says. I don’t want to talk about that entitled little brat,” anti-Trump commentator Ana Navarro said of Donald Trump Jr. on Cuomo Primetime in January. Additionally, Never Trump political operative Rick Wilson referred to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as the “the Fredo of the Republican party” in an appearance on AC360 in recent month.
Earlier Tuesday, President Donald Trump added his voice to the fray, tweeting, “I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN.”
“Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!” the president wrote in a subsequent tweet.
The nickname “Fredo” for Cuomo was popularized by Breitbart News editor-at-large John Nolte and is used often by radio talkshow legend Rush Limbaugh.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.