Robert De Niro Furious After Fiery Speech Gets Censored Over Trump Criticism

The actor had to read from his phone when an edited speech showed up on the teleprompter.

Robert De Niro appeared at the Gotham Awards in New York City on Monday night, but despite how many times the 80-year-old has been at a podium, his speech didn't exactly go off without a hitch. The actor claimed that his intended speech had been edited without his knowledge and that a censored version was scrolling on the teleprompter, leading him to pull out his phone and read his original speech from there. De Niro noted to the crowd that parts of that speech that had allegedly been censored included criticism of former president Donald Trump. Now, more information has come to light about why the star's remarks were edited.

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De Niro, who stars in Killers of the Flower Moon, was at the Gotham Awards to present the film with the Gotham Historical Icon and Creator Tribute. Killers of the Flower Moon, which is directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the book of the same name by David Grann, is about the murders of members of the Osage Nation in the early 20th century after oil was discovered on their land. De Niro, Lily Gladstone, and Leonardo DiCaprio also star.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, during his speech, De Niro said, "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.'"

The speech went on, "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."

"Killers of the Flower Moon" cast at the 2023 Gotham Awards on Nov. 27, 2023
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Gotham Film & Media Institute

At this point, De Niro noted that these sections of his speech had been removed from the teleprompter. "This is where I came in and I saw that they edited all that," he said to cheers from the audience as shown in a video from the event posted on X (formerly Twitter) by Jada Yuan. "So, I'm gonna say these things, but to Apple and thank them and all that, Gothams, blah, blah, blah, Apple. I don't feel like thanking them at all for what they did. How dare they do that, actually?"

Apple is one of the production companies behind Killers of the Flower Moon and also one of its distributors. Variety reports that it reviewed an email that was sent to the teleprompter company from two Apple employees soon before the Gotham Awards began that contained the edited speech. Additionally, a person who identified themselves as an Apple employee was reportedly heard speaking to the teleprompter operator at the event. This new speech reportedly had references to Trump removed and replaced with more vague language about "watching the news today." According to Variety, a source said that Apple was responding to feedback from the filmmaking team who wanted De Niro's speech to be focused on the movie.

A source "close to the film" told Variety that the incident was a miscommunication and that Apple and the filmmakers didn't know that De Niro wasn't OK with the speech that was put on the teleprompter. A spokesperson for De Niro told Variety that the actor had not seen the changes to his speech prior to taking the stage. Sources told Variety that the Gotham Awards didn't have anything to do with the speech being edited.

Best Life has reached out to Apple, the Gotham Awards, and De Niro for comment.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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