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Robert De Niro accuses Apple of censoring awards speech

Robert De Niro accuses Apple of censoring awards speech

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‘I don’t feel like thanking them at all for what they did. How dare they do that, actually.’

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The 2023 Gotham Awards At Cipriani Wall Street On November 27, 2023 In New York City
Robert De Niro, appearing onstage at the 2023 Gotham Awards in New York.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Gotham Film & Media Institute

Robert De Niro slammed Apple and the Gotham Film & Media Institute this week after claiming his speech for the Gotham Awards had been censored — allegedly by an Apple employee just minutes before the show started, according to Variety’s sources — to remove criticisms about Donald Trump and the entertainment industry. 

The actor appeared onstage at the ceremony on Monday night for the presentation of the Gotham Historical Icon and Creator Tribute to Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon, a film distributed by Apple that focuses on a series of murders targeting the Osage people in Oklahoma during the 1920s after oil was discovered on tribal land.

At first, De Niro said there was a mistake on the teleprompter, before realizing that entire sections of his speech had been removed. So instead, De Niro pulled out his phone to read the original speech. “I just want to say one thing. The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out, and I didn’t know about it. And I want to read it,” De Niro said before launching into the missing sections of the speech, included below:

“History isn’t history anymore. Truth is not truth. 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 which can 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.’

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 in his current campaign of retribution. But with all his lies, he can’t hide his soul. He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature, and shows disrespect, for example, by using ‘Pocahontas’ as a slur.”

At the conclusion of the speech, De Niro said that he had planned to thank Apple and the Gotham Film & Media Institute prior to seeing the edited speech on the teleprompter. “But I don’t feel like thanking them at all for what they did,” said De Niro. “How dare they do that, actually.”

The 2023 Gotham Awards At Cipriani Wall Street On November 27, 2023 In New York City
The cast of Killers of the Flower Moon (pictured, which includes De Niro) were awarded the Historical Icon and Creator Tribute to honor the film’s historical moments.
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Gotham Film & Media Institute

According to Variety’s sources, an edited version of the speech was uploaded to the teleprompter just minutes before the Gotham Awards kicked off, by a woman who identified herself as an Apple employee, in response to “feedback from the filmmaking team that wanted the actor’s remarks to be centered on the movie.” Variety also reports that the teleprompter company was emailed a revised speech script by two Apple employees that evening, and that De Niro was not aware of the changes.

Variety reports that De Niro’s accusations regarding censorship have been denied by “a source close to the film,” who instead claims the incident was a miscommunication. The insider alleges that multiple versions of the speech had been created, and that both Apple and the filmmakers were unaware that De Niro had not approved the final draft. We have reached out to Apple and the Gotham Film & Media Institute to clarify the situation.

De Niro’s accusations of censorship come just weeks after reports that Jon Stewart’s show on Apple TV Plus, The Problem With Jon Stewart, was ended due to “creative differences” related to topics on China and artificial intelligence.