Award-winning actor De Niro denounced US President Donald Trump with expletives during the live television broadcast of the Tony Awards Sunday evening. The speech won him a standing ovation.
"I'm gonna say one thing. F*** Trump," actor Robert De Niro said as he took the stage at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Sunday night.
His task was to introduce musician Bruce Springsteen during the Tony Awards. Instead, he first took to task the US president himself.
"It's no longer down with Trump. It's F*** Trump," he said, with the audience of actors, directors and producers shrieking and then offering De Niro a standing ovation.
The actor urged the audience to vote during mid-term elections in November. He praised musician Springsteen for his own political activism, saying "Bruce, you can rock the house like nobody else and even more importantly in these perilous times, you rock the vote, always fighting for, in your own words, truth, transparency and integrity in government. Boy, do we need that now."
Sitting at the piano, Springsteen launched into his classic hit "My Hometown," which has been part of his one-man show, Springsteen on Broadway, running from October 2017 through December 2018.
Bleeped, but still circulated
De Niro's expletive, also called the "F-bomb," was bleeped by the CBS television network for millions of television watchers. "Mr. De Niro's comments were unscripted and unexpected," CBS said in a statement. "The offensive language was deleted from the broadcast."
Those in the audience and the journalists covering the awards show, however, did hear the comments, and they quickly started circulating on Twitter.
De Niro is a highly respected actor, having garnered two Oscars for his roles in Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part II.
A noted liberal, he has been critical of President Trump, a Republican, at other show business events, but none with the high profile and reach of the Tony Awards, which salute performances in Broadway theater.
als/eg (AP, Reuters)