De Niro’s Trump Attack Costs Him NAB Leadership Award

The acclaimed actor had a prestigious service award rescinded by the National Association of Broadcasters after his strongly-worded anti-Trump statements created a "distraction" for the bipartisan event.

In a swift reversal, Robert De Niro has been stripped of a high-profile leadership honor from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) following his forceful anti-Trump remarks outside the former president’s criminal trial this week. The Oscar-winning actor was set to receive the NAB Leadership Foundation’s Service to America Award at the organization’s upcoming event. However, his scathing rebuke of Donald Trump has proven too polarizing for the “proudly bipartisan” broadcasters’ group.

“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,” an NAB spokesperson told The Hill on Thursday. “To maintain the focus on service of the award winners, Mr. De Niro will no longer be attending the event.”

Speaking at a pro-Biden press conference on Tuesday, the outspoken liberal De Niro lambasted Trump in unsparing terms, branding the ex-president a “danger” who doesn’t “belong” in New York City and wants to “destroy” America’s core values. The Raging Bull star’s fiery condemnation outside the Manhattan courthouse quickly went viral.

“I hope this new ad campaign reaches outside the bubble to remind supporters of what a danger he is to our lives,” said De Niro of Trump. “This is not a threat. This is our reality. And that’s why I’ve joined the Biden-Harris campaign, because the only way to preserve our freedoms and hold on to our humanity is to vote for Joe Biden for president.”

Robert De Niro

He continued: “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. A clown…No one took him seriously. They take him seriously now.”

The combustible scene, which saw De Niro getting heckled by Trump supporters and trading insults, proved a bridge too far for the NAB. The nonpartisan organization swiftly walked back plans to honor the iconic Taxi Driver star, deeming his fiery partisan rhetoric too distracting for their intended unifying celebration of public service in broadcasting.

In a statement, De Niro did not protest the decision, expressing appreciation for the organization: “I support the work of the NAB Leadership Foundation and would like to express my gratitude for what the Foundation has done and will continue to do for the good of us all, and I wish them well.”

The polarizing fallout highlights the nation’s deep political rifts, where even an acclaimed entertainer’s criticism of a former president is deemed too divisive by an industry group striving for neutrality. Whether the NAB reversal quells the controversy or simply inflames partisan fury remains to be seen.

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