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Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor and member of a political dynasty in New York, unleashed a wave of curses, insulted insults, and threatened to throw a man down the stairs after the man apparently named him Fredo, a reference to "The Godfather" film trilogy, according to a video that spread on social media on Monday evening.
The video, originally shared on the conservative YouTube channel That & The Point With Brandon, does not show the comment that caused the incident. But it catches Mr. Cuomo's furious reaction as he is ashamed of the comment that he amounts to & # 39; the n-word & # 39; for Italian-Americans.
"My name is Chris Cuomo", he says in the video. "I'm an anchor on CNN. Fredo is from" The Godfather. "He was that weak brother. And they use it as an Italian aversion."
Mr. Cuomo's brother is Government Andrew M. Cuomo and their father is the former governor Mario M. Cuomo. In the movies & # 39; Godfather & # 39; Fredo Corleone is the weak, ineffective brother of Mafia leader Michael Corleone, who is resentful that Michael became the heir to the family business.
On Tuesday morning, mr. Cuomo a statement in which he said: "I appreciate all the support, but the truth is that I should be better than the guys who are after me."
He added: “There is a lesson: no need to add to ugliness; I should be better than what I am against. & # 39;
Monday night a CNN spokesperson, Matt Dornic, said on Twitter that the network was behind Mr. Cuomo.
"Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic blemish in an orchestrated arrangement," wrote Dornic. "We fully support him."
In the YouTube video, Mr. Cuomo said that his conservative critics had often used the name as an insult to him.
On Tuesday morning President Trump, who often criticizes the Cuomo brothers, seemed to drive that point home and wrote on Twitter: “I thought Chris was Fredo too. The truth hurts. Totally lost. & # 39;
Mr.'s eldest son Trump, Donald Trump Jr., also weighed on Twitter. When he was Monday night Cuomo spoke, he wrote: "Take it from me," Fredo "is not the N word for Italians, it just means that you are the stupid brother."
The Cuomo family has long been furious at even the hint of a reference to the Mafia. Mario Cuomo often urged journalists and officials to speak & # 39; mafia & # 39; not to use – even when a mafia boss was killed in 1985 – and called it an & # 39; ugly stereotype & # 39 ;.
Brandon Recor, the host of the YouTube channel who posted the video, said he sent the footage on Sunday evening by the man involved in the confrontation, who, according to Mr. Recor, asked for anonymity because he lived in New York and worried about the Governor's retaliation.
Mr. Recor, who lives in Los Angeles, said the man was at a bar on Shelter Island, N.Y. when he approached Mr. Cuomo. In the video, the man insists he thought Mr. Cuomo was actually called Fredo.
Recor claimed that "the man listens to Rush Limbaugh a lot, and for whatever reason, Rush Limbaugh refers to Chris Cuomo as Fredo. So the man said, "Hello, Fredo, can I get a photo?"
The response to the video is not neatly split lines. Mr. Cuomo unlikely received support from Sean Hannity, a rival Fox News host who recommended his actions, and Joe Walsh, the former congressman and talk radio host.
"Chris Cuomo had every right to defend himself," wrote Mr. Walsh Tuesday morning on Twitter. But he added, "Fredo is not the n-word."
Mario Cuomo often pointed out that references to the Mafia and his Italian origins in general had been used against him by political rivals – perhaps best known by Bill Clinton in 1992, when Mr. Clinton was looking for the Democratic nomination for president and Mr. Cuomo weighed an offer.
"He acts like one," said Mr. Clinton, after someone suggested that Mr. Cuomo had Mafia connections, in a recorded phone call that was made public.
The aversion of the former governor to the supposed stereotype even extended – & especially – to & # 39; The Godfather & # 39 ;. He famously refused to watch the film for decades and finally admitted in 2013. (He reluctantly admitted that & # 39; this thing might be a masterpiece & # 39 ;.)
Andrew Cuomo was also the target of mafia-related political attacks, in which several Republican opponents over the years resembled his government style over the criminal organization.
But in recent years, some liberal commentators have also used Mafia comparisons to refer to Mr. Trump and his family, some comparing members of the president's family – especially his eldest son – to Fredo.
At least one such comparison took place in Mr.'s show. Cuomo, as his critics indicated on Monday evening. In January, Republican strategist Ana Navarro referred to Donald Trump Jr. as Fredo said, "He didn't even know that his brother-in-law and sister were part of the Oval Office and the White House staff. Dad kept Fredo at home. & # 39;
Donald Trump Jr. shared a short clip with Mrs Navarro's comments on Monday evening and noted that Mr Cuomo did not object to her comments.
Vivian Wang has contributed reporting.