While the CNN top leadership came to Chris Cuomo’s defense following his angry outburst at a heckler who referred to him as the character Fredo from “The Godfather,” word on the inside is that the staff feels “embarrassed” by the whole ordeal, especially his denunciation of the Fredo insult as an ethnic slur akin to that of the N-word.
“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,'” reports Fox News.
Another staff member told the news outlet that Cuomo escalated the situation with the heckler way too far, embarrassing everyone at CNN.
“Everyone thinks it’s fine to stand up to trolls, but it escalated way past where it needed to,” said the source. “It was embarrassing. It was an unforced error, and he gave the right — and the president — ammunition to use against him and CNN.”
The viral video of Cuomo showed him threatening the heckler that he’d throw him “down these stairs like a f***ing punk” if he persisted mocking him.
“No, punk-a** b****es from the Right call me Fredo,” Cuomo said in the video. “My name is Chris Cuomo, I’m an anchor on CNN. Fredo is from ‘The Godfather,’ he was that weak brother and they’re using it as an Italian aspersion. It’s like the ‘n-word’ for us.”
“I’ll f***ing ruin your shit. I’ll f***ing throw you down these stairs like a f***ing punk,” he later told the heckler.
Cuomo himself has at least acknowledged he went too far by threatening violence on the man who heckled him in public.
“Appreciate all the support but — truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me,” he said in a tweet. “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.”
CNN largely backed Cuomo, with even some prominent conservatives like Sean Hannity stepping up in his defense. “I say good for [Chris Cuomo],” Sean Hannity said in response. “He’s out with his 9 year old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jacka** in front of his family. [In my opinion] Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology.”
Regardless, as the CNN staff predicted, President Donald Trump and conservatives have been milking the Cuomo outburst to its fullest. “I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings [CNN],” the president tweeted.
Following Trump’s troll of Cuomo, his presidential re-election campaign took it 10 steps further by releasing “Fredo Unhinged” T-shirts available for purchase. “CNN’s Chris Cuomo is Fredo!” the campaign site said of the shirt. “The truth hurts. He totally lost it. Help us annoy Chris Cuomo and buy your ‘Fredo Unhinged Tee’ now! Fine Jersey (100% Cotton) construction. Limited Edition. While supplies last. Proudly Made in USA.”