Star of Killers of the Flower Moon Robert De Niro seemed perplexed as he stepped onto the stage at Monday night’s Gotham Awards in New York City. The Historical Icon and Creator Tribute awards for Martin Scorsese’s Apple film, which also features Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone, were presented by the Oscar-winning actor.
De Niro discovered his planned statements for the award’s introduction had been altered as he started reading them. After a video featuring the legendary director and Osage chief Geoffrey Standing Bear talking about the movie had been broadcast, De Niro insisted on reading the speech he had originally planned to give, which had some pointed political remarks, including ones directed at previous President Donald Trump.
On the podium, De Niro declared, “History isn’t history anymore. Truth isn’t truth, and even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness. In Florida, young students are taught that slaves developed skills that could 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 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.’”
He furthermore added, “Lying has become just another tool in the charlatan’s 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 with his current campaign of retribution. With all of his lies, he can’t hide his soul. He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature, and shows his disrespect, for example, using ‘Pocahontas’ as a slur,” alluding to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Trump’s well-known alias.
The actor then announced to the crowd that this was the start of his address again, and it seemed as though he was blaming Killers studio Apple for removing a portion of his speech. “I’m gonna say these things, but to Apple and thank them and all that, Gothams, blah, blah, blah, Apple,” De Niro said. “But I don’t feel like thanking them at all after what they did. How dare they do that, actually?”
Apple and Gotham Awards representatives have been contacted by The Hollywood Reporter for comments. De Niro has previously criticized Trump, likening his tenure as president to “an abusive relationship.”
“You don’t know what’s going to happen.” Regarding Trump’s presidency, he stated in 2019 on Michael Moore’s podcast Rumble, “You don’t feel safe. The president is such an idiot and doesn’t do anything that we can rely on or feel safe about, even good intentions — he has no good intentions. That’s your role as president, to make people feel good and positive. Even though it’s easier said than done, that’s your responsibility as president. He doesn’t have any of that, as we all know.”