Despite being worth an estimated $500 million, actor Robert De Niro took coronavirus money from the government to pay for expenses at his various restaurants across the globe, including his London-based luxury restaurant Nobu.
The Daily Mail reported on De Niro’s expensive London eatery, Nobu, to which celebrities flock when they are in the U.K.’s capital city. According to the paper, the 77-year-old star took enough government relief money to cover 80 percent of the high-end restaurant’s operating costs. U.K. government officials revealed the award of coronavirus relief money to De Niro’s restaurant.
The government report notes: “The restaurant has been closed since March 21, 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.K., and reopened on May 6, 2020, to operate in providing a limited restaurant service that can be operated by the company under the recommended health and safety guidelines imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic such as food take away service.”
Nobu told the government that it expected “a significant decrease in profitability due to materially reduced revenues in 2020.”
John O’Connell, the CEO of the watchdog group Taxpayers’ Alliance, reminded readers that the relief money, while helpful to struggling companies, “ultimately comes from taxpayers, and support should only be sought if it’s really needed.”
In light of how much Nobu’s owner is worth, critics, like O’Connell, question why taxpayers should have to step in to pay his employees when it seems likely that De Niro could easily afford the costs out of pocket.
De Niro was also reported as having accepted 14 loans totaling upwards to $28 million in coronavirus relief funding from the Trump administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). De Niro was recently reported as lamenting the need to slash his spending. It was also reported that he cut ex-wife Grace Hightower’s American Express limit from $100,000 to $50,000 a month.
De Niro’s Nobu restaurant, co-owned with film producer Meir Teper, has outlets on five continents, and the star claims that the coronavirus has put his business interests at risk.
The Raging Bull star regularly attacked former President Donald Trump and his supporters. During an appearance on MSNBC’s The Last Word in June, for instance, De Niro insisted that “I am certainly looking forward to” the president ending up in jail.
In May, the actor told BBC’s Newsnight that Trump is a “lunatic” who has no regard for how many Americans die of the coronavirus.
Also, last month, De Niro attacked the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump in 2020 saying that their vote made him “angry.”
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