Robert De Niro, an acclaimed Hollywood actor, was recently at the center of controversy over his speech at the Gotham Awards in New York. De Niro, who received a Gotham Historical Icon and an Honorary Creators Award for his work on Martin Scorsese's latest film, "Killers of the Flower Moon," revealed that parts of his speech were censored without his knowledge.
As De Niro began his acceptance speech, he noticed that the teleprompter he was reading from had been altered, omitting the first part of his prepared remarks. Undaunted, De Niro took out his cell phone and read aloud the censored portion of his speech.
The censored passage contained harsh criticism of former US President Donald Trump, his policies and his supporters. De Niro condemned Trump's lies, attacks on the media and disrespect for marginalized communities. He also criticized the entertainment industry for its complicity in perpetuating harmful narratives and promoting lies.
De Niro's remarks included: "History is no longer history. Truth is not truth. Even facts are replaced by alternative facts, and conspiracy theories and ugliness are launched. In Florida, young students are taught that slaves developed skills that they can use for their own benefit.
The entertainment industry is not immune to this vicious disease." "Duke John Wayne famously said of the Indians, 'I don't feel we were wrong to take this great land from them. There were a lot of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.'
" "The lie has become just another tool in the charlatan's arsenal." The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four years in office, and he continues his current campaign of revenge. But with all the lies, he cannot hide his soul.
He attacks the weak, destroys nature's gifts and shows disrespect, for example by using Pocahontas as an insult." De Niro then refused to thank the film's sponsor Apple, citing the removal of parts of his speech: "They don't thank me at all for what they did.
How dare they do that?" De Niro has a long history of verbally attacking Trump, saying in a 2016 campaign video: "He's so obviously stupid. He's a bum. He's a dog. He's a pig. A fraud who doesn't know what he's talking about." The censorship of De Niro's speech underscores the ongoing struggle to protect freedom of expression and prevent the suppression of dissenting voices. It's a reminder that even in a society that values open dialogue, efforts to silence uncomfortable truths persist.