CNN is standing by its primetime host Chris Cuomo after video emerged of him squaring up to a man who called him “Fredo,” an insult referring to the hapless Fredo Corleone character from “The Godfather” movie franchise.
“Punk-ass bitches from the right call me Fredo. My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN,” Cuomo, who is of Italian descent, responded to the man in the clip amplified Monday by a reporter for right-wing website The Daily Wire.
“Fredo is from ‘The Godfather,’ he was that weak brother and they’re using it as an Italian aspersion,” Cuomo continued.
“It’s like the ‘N-word’ for us,” Cuomo claimed.
Later in the video, Cuomo repeatedly cursed as he fired back at the man ― who claimed he believed Cuomo’s actual name was “Fredo.”
“You’re going to have a big fucking problem,” Cuomo said. “Don’t fucking insult me like that. You fucking called me Fredo. It’s like I call you punk bitch ― you like that?”
“What are you going to do about it?” the unidentified man later asked.
“I’ll fucking ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs like a fucking punk,” Cuomo replied.
A spokesperson for CNN said it “completely” supported Cuomo following the incident.
“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup,” they told Mediaite.
The video divided opinion on Twitter, where it drew contrasting commentary from high-profile conservative figures, while other people debated the offensiveness (racial or otherwise) of the “Fredo” insult.
Fox News host Sean Hannity, who frequently uses his widely watched show to attack CNN and stump for President Donald Trump, tweeted that Cuomo has “zero to apologize for” and actually “deserves the apology” himself.
“I say good for [Chris Cuomo],” Hannity wrote. “He’s out with his 9 year old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jackass in front of his family.”
The president himself also responded Tuesday morning with a dig at Cuomo.
“I thought Chris was Fredo also,” he tweeted. “The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN.”
This article has been updated with the president’s tweet.