Robert De Niro says that Apple or the Gotham Awards cut a political segment including criticisms of Donald Trump out of his teleprompter copy of a speech -- so he read the rest from his phone.
Actor Robert De Niro presented Martin Scorsese with the Gotham Historical Icon and Creator Tribute as the Gotham Awards 2023 honored the director's Apple TV+ film "Killers of the Flower Moon." However, as he concluded his speech, De Niro had much more to say -- and so he said it all.
"I just wanna say one thing," he began. "The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out, I didn't know about it. And I wanna read it."
To applause from the audience, De Niro got out his phone and read around 150 words to do with how "history isn't history anymore... even facts are being replaced by alternative facts."
"The entertainment industry isn't immune to this festering disease," he continued. "The Duke, John Wayne, famously said of Native Americans, 'I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them... There were great numbers of people who needed new land and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.'"
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"The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four...," said De Niro, pausing only to acknowledge repeated applause. "Thank you. [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," continued De Niro. "He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature and shows disrespect, for example, by using Pocahontas as a slur."
Accusing Apple and event organizers
After finishing reading these prepared remarks from his phone, De Niro then took aim at the Gotham Awards and Apple for removing them from his teleprompter copy.
"This is where I came in and I saw that they edited all that," he said. "So I'm gonna say these things but to Apple and thank them and all that, Gotham, blah, blah, blah... But I don't feel like thanking them at all for what they did."
"How dare they do that actually," he concluded.
Neither Apple nor the organizers of the Gotham Festival have commented. It is not known who removed the segment from De Niro's script. Regardless, the Gotham Awards has included video coverage of De Niro's complete speech, including his criticism, on its YouTube channel.