Chris Cuomo is getting support from CNN and his Fox News rival Sean Hannity after Cuomo erupted on a man heckling him at a Shelter Island, N.Y., bar on Sunday.
Video of the incident involving the Cuomo Prime Time host, 49, and an apparent Trump supporter surfaced on Monday and drew comments from many, including President Trump. In the clip, Cuomo is heard cursing at a man whom Cuomo said called him “Fredo” — The Godfather reference is an “Italian aspersion,” Cuomo claimed during the dispute. “It’s like the N-word for” Italians, the anchor said, adding, “Punk-a** b****es from the right call me Fredo.”
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
The situation escalated on both sides, and at one point Cuomo — on vacation with his family — said to the man, “I’ll f**king ruin your sh**. I’ll f**king throw you down these stairs like a f**king punk.”
It should be pointed out that the person filming the video was either the man who called Cuomo “Fredo” or someone in his group. It was then sent to conservative media personality Brandon Straka, who posted it to YouTube — with the title **EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE!** CNN ANCHOR CHRIS CUOMO THREATENING TRUMP SUPPORTER! — and shared on Twitter.
Straka claimed the man was “just asking for a photo” from Cuomo — the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and “thought his name was Fredo” — the weaker and less intelligent of the Corleone brothers in the Mafia movie franchise — “from being an avid listener of Rush Limbaugh.”
In the video, Cuomo disputed that man’s claim. "You did not think that,” he said. “Don't be a liar. You want to be a man, stand up like a man ... Own what you said."
Cuomo spoke out on Tuesday acknowledging that he “should be better than the guys baiting me.” However, he wrote, “This happens all the times these days. Often in front of my family.” However, he shouldn’t “add to the ugliness” and “should be better than what I oppose.”
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
That was after the president shared the video, writing that he “thought Chris was Fredo also,” adding,” The truth hurts.” He also added that Cuomo “totally lost it” and worked in a “low ratings CNN” jab.
But Cuomo has a lot of people in his corner — including his network. CNN spokesman Matt Dornic wrote on Twitter that Cuomo was “verbally attacked” with “an ethnic slur” and called it “an orchestrated setup.”
Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) August 13, 2019
And Fox News’ Hannity said “Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology.” He noted that the Trump supporter was “being a jacka**” to Cuomo while “he’s out with his 9-year-old daughter and his wife.”
I say good for @ChrisCuomo— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 13, 2019
He’s out with his 9 year old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jackass in front of his family.
Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology. https://t.co/VnyMNgz14U
The video has also led to a debate about “Fredo” — and whether it’s a slur comparable with the N-word — on social media.
I think the guy was being a jerk to @chriscuomo, and I certainly understand Cuomo getting pissed, but there's just no way calling someone Fredo Corleone is like the n-word. There just isn't. That's plain nuts.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 13, 2019
How is Fredo "like the n word" for Italians?— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) August 13, 2019
“Fredo” is not the “n-word for Italians.” It’s a movie reference invoked specifically to make fun of Chris Cuomo.— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) August 13, 2019
Donald Trump Jr. also shared some old footage of Ana Navarro-Cárdenas saying “Fredo” on Cuomo’s show without a reaction from the host.
Does CNN’s head of PR still think “Fredo” is an ethnic slur after watching this? Because if it’s the N word for Italians like @ChrisCuomo says, I don’t understand why Chris seems so at ease with someone saying it here. An excuse just as fake as his news. #FredoCuomo https://t.co/8G8yuY80CK pic.twitter.com/1gwVyDVCob— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 13, 2019
Cuomo is on vacation and will return to CNN on Monday.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle’s newsletter.