CNN staffers are “embarrassed” by primetime host Christopher Cuomo’s videotaped freakout in which he threatened a man with physical violence for referring to him as “Fredo” — a term he claimed was an anti-Italian slur, according to a report.
“Punk-ass bitches from the right call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN,” the host is seen saying in the video shared to a YouTube channel with the title “That’s the Point with Brandon”:
During another point in the video, Cuomo threatens to physically harm the man, shouting, “I’ll fucking ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs like a fucking punk. … You’re gonna call me ‘Fredo’? Take a fucking swing.”
He also claimed that “Fredo” is comparable to the “N-word” for Italians.
Cuomo is seen using the word “fuck” nearly 25 times, according to a count conducted by NewsBusters.
Insiders say that — while CNN brass stood by Chris Cuomo after he was caught on camera threatening a man who called him “Fredo” — the newsroom rank and file was “embarrassed” by the blowup.
One insider said they personally thought the run-in was “great” and that Cuomo would get a pass from higher-ups because “he’s BFFs with [CNN president Jeff] Zucker.” Another said the newsroom chatter was that “everyone thinks it’s fine to stand up to trolls, but it escalated way past where it needed to.” While they said Cuomo generally has a good reputation with the staff, “It was embarrassing.” They added, “It was an unforced error, and he gave the right — and the president — ammunition to use against him and CNN.”
Shortly after Cuomo’s confrontation was posted online, CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic expressed support for the anchor, writing on Twitter, “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.”
In a tweet, Cuomo conceded he let the man he berated get the best of him.
“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,” Cuomo, who is reportedly on vacation, wrote.
Ironically, CNN contributor Ana Navarro used the term “Fredo” to insult Donald Trump Jr. on Cuomo’s program in January, a comparison the host did not object to as a slur. Cuomo even referred to himself as the inept Godfather character in a 2010 radio interview. The nickname for Cuomo was popularized by Breitbart News’s John Nolte and is used frequently by radio talk show legend Rush Limbaugh.
Even President Donald Trump weighed in on Cuomo, tweeting, “I thought Chris was Fredo also.”
“Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!” the president wrote in a subsequent tweet.