Cuomo feeds stereotype of hot-headed Italians (Thanks, Chris!)

Busy week, but felt like I finally had to weigh in on the Fredo Cuomo controversy.

You know the background: CNN host Chris Cuomo was out with his family on Long Island when a young man addressed him as Fredo, the name of a hapless character in “The Godfather,” the ne’er-do-well brother of Sonny and Michael Corleone.

Cuomo, who shows evidence of steroid use, flipped out and went psycho on the young man over being called Fredo.

Here’s part of the conversation, via Newsbusters:

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: I thought that’s who you were.

CHRIS CUOMO: No, punk ass bitches from the right call me Fredo. My name is Chris Cuomo, I’m an anchor on CNN.

Fredo is from The Godfather. He was that weak brother. And they use it as an Italian aspersion. Any of you Italian?

MAN: I got a little bit Italian.

CUOMO: Are you Italian? It’s a fucking insult to your people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2 (from off camera): I didn’t know that.

CUOMO: It’s an insult to your fucking people. It’s like the N-word for us. Is that a cool fucking thing?

MAN 1: You’re a much more reasonable guy in person than you seem to be on television.

OK, so that right there is a bunch of BS. I’m 100 percent Italian heritage or as we used to like to say back in Jersey “FBI” — full blooded Italian. There is absolutely no connection between Fredo and the N-word. That is a megalomaniac’s narcissistic conceit. The equivalent to calling an Italian “Fredo” is calling a black person “Erkel”; it may sting but it’s not a racial or ethic insult.

Now Chris Cuomo is 15 years younger than me, and he grew up as the privileged son of the popular governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, so maybe his experience on the school playground was different than mine, but I can assure him there are lots of words for Italians that are ethnic slurs. They were all used against me at one time or another. Here are a few I remember: Dago, Wop, Guinea, Guinea Wop, Eye-talian, Eye-tie, greaser, greaseball.

Did I like being called names? No. But if you were proud of your heritage it didn’t scar you either. I remember I used to lecture kids who called me Guinea by explaining to them that a Guinea was someone from Southern Italy, so they really should call me either Dago or Wop. That usually threw them for a loop.

Chris Cuomo took a rather different tack, threatening violence instead:

CUOMO: You want to be a man, stand up like a man.

MAN 1: I’m standing up man.

CUOMO: You want to be a man, I’m here.

MAN 1: Yeah, I’m here.

CUOMO: Then fucking own it. Then own what you said.

MAN 1: Listen, man – [Takes off glasses]

CUOMO: Then fucking own it. Then own what you said.

MAN 1: I don’t have a problem with you man.

CUOMO: You’re going to have a fucking problem.

MAN 1: What? What are you going to do about it?

CUOMO: I’ll fucking ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs like a fucking punk.

That last bit may have been the steroids talking. I mean personally, I don’t think Chris Cuomo did the reputation of us Italians any good. We do have this reputation of being hotheads, and Cuomo sure went the extra mile to make the stereotype look like an accurate representation. Threatening to throw people down the stairs is kind of a stupid thing to say, but what’s worse is I kind of think he would really do it if he could get away with it.

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If you don’t mind listening to a lot of profanity, here’s the video of Cuomo being “much more reasonable in person” than on his CNN TV show.

Frank Miele writes from Kalispell, Montana, at and is a columnist at Real Clear Politics. My new book is “The Media Matrix: What If Everything You Know Is Fake.” To support my work, please consider buying “The Media Matrix” or my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy, which documents the downward spiral of the USA before Trump arrived on the scene. The books are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. Go here for a free sample:

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