Robert De Niro has never been shy about trash-talking Donald Trump. Before the 2016 election he took part in a video urging people to vote, in which he went off, called him a “punk,” a “dog,” a “pig,” a “bullsh*t artist,” and said he’d “like to punch him in the face.” De Niro was going to do some more Trump dragging Monday night at the Gotham Awards. He did do that, but only after the powers-that-be allegedly tried to censor him.
Per Deadline, the legendary actor took part in a tribute to Killers of the Flower Moon, his latest collaboration with director Martin Scorsese. At the start of his speech it seems like he’s struggling with the teleprompter. He eventually explained there was a reason for that.
“The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out. I didn’t know about it,” he told the crowd. “And I want to read it,” he said as he took out paper from his pocket containing what he meant to say:
“History isn’t history anymore. Truth is not truth. Even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness. In Florida young students are taught that slaves develop skills which can be applied for their personal benefit. The entertainment industry isn’t immune to this festering disease. The Duke John Wayne famously said of Native Americans, I don’t feel we did wrong and taking this great country away from that. There were great numbers of people who needed new land and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.
“Lying has become just another tool in the charlatans’ arsenal. The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four years in office, and he’s keeping up the pace in his current campaign of retribution. But with all his lies, he can’t hide his soul. He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature, and shows disrespect, for example by using Pocahontas as a slur.”
That brought him full circle to what he told the crowd at the start of his presentation, saying that filmmakers “at least aim for the truth,” including when they’re “telling stories about real people,” as in Killers of the Flower Moon.
But he wasn’t done. He made sure to torch both the Gothams and Apple, who produced the film, for allegedly snipping his speech.
“So I’m going to say these things but—to Apple and thank them and all that. Gotham, blah blah blah, Apple, but—I don’t feel like thanking them at all for what they did,” he said. “How dare they do that, actually.”
Elsewhere at the Gothams, the immigration drama Past Lives took home Best Feature, the German drama Anatomy of a Fall nabbed both Screenplay and International Feature, and Ali Wong won Outstanding Performance in a New Series for Beef (which also won Breakthrough Television Under 40 Minutes). Meanwhile, Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone won for Lead Performance not for that film but for The Unknown Country.
You can watch the Flower Moon presentation in the video below. De Niro goes off-script around the two-minute mark.