Robert De Niro denied leadership award after speaking out against Trump | Robert De Niro

Film actor Robert De Niro was scheduled to accept a leadership award from the National Association of Broadcasters, but the group has rescinded the award after the celebrity spoke out against Donald Trump outside his criminal trial in New York this week, the Hill and the Huffington Post report.

The National Association of Broadcasters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for the group told The Hill on Thursday that their event was “proudly bipartisan” and said: “While we strongly support the right of every American to exercise free speech and participate in civic engagement, it is clear that Mr. De Niro’s recent high-profile activities will create a distraction from the philanthropic work that we were hoping to recognize. To maintain the focus on service of the award winners, Mr. De Niro will no longer be attending the event.”

In a statement to the Hill, De Niro did not protest the decision, and said he continued to appreciate the group.

“I support the work of the NAB Leadership Foundation and would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for what the Foundation has done and will continue to do for the good of us all, and I wish them well for their continued good work,” the Hill reported him as saying in the statement.

On Tuesday, De Niro, a longtime Democrat who recently voiced an ad for Democratic President Joe Biden, attended a Biden campaign event outside the Manhattan courtroom with two former law enforcement officers, Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone, who were at the US Capitol when it was attacked by Trump supporters on 6 January 2021.

Referring to Trump’s successful 2016 run for president, the Academy Award winner said Trump’s candidacy was initially laughed off as a joke.

“We’ve forgotten the lessons of history that showed us other clowns who weren’t taken seriously until they became vicious dictators,” he said. “With Trump, we have a second chance and no one is laughing now. This is the time to stop him by voting him out once and for all.”

Robert De Niro calls Donald Trump ‘a clown’ outside hush-money trial – video

If Trump returns to the White House, he said, Americans could see the civil liberties they take for granted evaporate as well as the end of elections.

“If he gets in, I can tell you right now, he will never leave,” said De Niro.

Fanone and Dunn delivered emotional remarks, saying violence at the Capitol had been fueled by Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen. The speakers were heckled by a Trump supporter as pro-Trump demonstrators chanted in the background.

Trump campaign officials said the De Niro event showed desperation in the Biden camp.

“Joe Biden is losing nationally,” said Jason Miller, another Trump spokesperson. “President Trump’s numbers continue to rise. And the best that Biden can do is roll out a washed-up actor.”

In his most biting comments, De Niro spoke of Trump through the lens of the largely Democratic city whose voters know Trump well and roundly rejected him at the polls.

“We New Yorkers used to tolerate him when he was just another grubby real estate hustler masquerading as a big shot, a two-bit playboy lying his way into the tabloids,” he said. “A clown … No one took him seriously. They take him seriously now.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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