Daily Show host Trevor Noah mocked CNN host Chris Cuomo’s claim that he was racially abused by a man who called him “Fredo,” pointing out that such an insult is not as offensive as using the N-word.
Noah began his segment on Tuesday by playing a clip of Chris Cuomo confronting a man who called him “Fredo,” threatening to throw him “down these stairs like a fucking punk.”
“Now I see why CNN makes people fight in separate boxes, that’s just workplace safety,” Noah quipped. “If you talk trash to [Chris Cuomo] in the streets, the only thing that might end up breaking is your face.”
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 14, 2019
However, Noah mocked the Cuomo’s claim that “Fredo” is as offensive Italian-Americans as the n-word is to African-Americans. The name is a reference to the film The Godfather, with Fredo being the weak brother constantly seeking approval from his mafia boss father.
“So since this video went viral, there’s been a big conversation over whether the word ‘Fredo’ is a slur. Now, some are saying that it’s a reference to the dumb brother in The Godfather… but some are also saying it’s an ethnic slur,” The Comedy Central host explained. “In fact, Cuomo himself claimed that it’s like calling an Italian person the n-word.”
Noah then introduced correspondent Roy Wood Jr. to answer the question. “Is calling an Italian person ‘Fredo’ the same as calling a black person the ‘n-word’?” Noah asked. Rather than answering the question, Wood merely stared at the camera before walking off the stage.
Writing on Twitter Tuesday, Cuomo admitted he “should be better” than arguing with hecklers.
“Appreciate all the support but – truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me,” he wrote. “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.”
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
In a statement following the incident, a CNN spokesperson affirmed that Cuomo “defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated set up,” adding that he has the network’s full support.