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CNN’s Chris Cuomo apologizes for viral attack on heckler
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has apologized for his profanity-laced tirade directed at a heckler who called him “Fredo,” the Daily Caller reported.
In a video that went viral online, Cuomo insisted that “Fredo” was a racial slur and threatened the heckler.
Even though CNN supported Cuomo for bashing a man who called him “Fredo” while he was out with his family, Cuomo backed down, saying it wasn’t OK for him to stoop to the same level as others.
“This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family,” Cuomo said. “But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness. I should be better than what I oppose.”
Is “Fredo” a slur?
Many pundits and commentators quickly pointed out that “Fredo” was not used as a racial slur against Italians, as Cuomo claimed. The term refers to the weak and dumb younger brother in the Corleone family from The Godfather movies.
Furthermore, many politicians have been called “Fredo” on both sides of the aisle by their opponents in the years since the original film became a classic. In 2004, journalist Jonathan Chait called George W. Bush “basically the Fredo of the Bush family.”
David Frum used the term in an article headline in The Atlantic to describe President Donald Trump — no outrage from CNN over that one. And it has also been used to describe Donald Trump, Jr., as well as various members of the Kennedy family.
In fact, talk show host Rush Limbaugh has called Chris Cuomo “Fredo” for years on his program. (Maybe that’s where the heckler got the name from.)
Cuomo even called himself “Fredo” jokingly in a 2010 interview unearthed by the New York Post. But that was before everything became racist and people started taking themselves way too seriously.
Did Cuomo overreact?
Cuomo seems to think he overreacted in the situation, and many of those who viewed the video seemed to agree. Oddly enough, conservative TV and radio host Sean Hannity defended Cuomo, saying that he “didn’t have anything to apologize for” because no one should be bothered like that when out with their family.
Still, at least Cuomo had the decency to recognize that it wasn’t his finest moment and apologize for it — even if he was merely bowing to social media pressure to do so.
It would be nice if we all could just take the political rhetoric down a notch or two sometimes and remember that there are a lot of human beings on both sides that need to be treated as such. Even recognizing it after the fact is a step in the right direction.
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