Robert De Niro, acclaimed as one of the greatest actors in Hollywood, delivered an unexpected speech at the 2023 Gotham Awards where he claimed that the beginning of his prepared comments had been edited. Present to present the Historical Icon and Creator Tribute Award for Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” De Niro asserted that his initial remarks had been altered and proceeded to read the unedited version from his phone.
His speech took a turn towards the theme of historical inaccuracies, expressing concern about the replacement of history, truth, and facts with alternative narratives, conspiracy theories, and misinformation. De Niro highlighted an example from Florida where students are reportedly taught that slaves developed skills for personal benefit. He also addressed John Wayne’s controversial statement about Native Americans, emphasizing the spread of misinformation even within the entertainment industry.
De Niro didn’t shy away from political commentary, referencing the former president’s alleged lies, attacks on the weak, destruction of nature, and use of derogatory terms, citing Pocahontas as an example.
“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 with his current campaign of retribution. With all of his lies, he can’t hide his soul. He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature and shows his disrespect for example using Pocahontas as a slur.”
Despite being present to thank Apple and the Gotham Awards, De Niro expressed his reluctance to thank them after what he perceived as alterations to his speech. Known for his outspoken nature and willingness to address uncomfortable truths, De Niro continues to be admired by both fans and peers in the industry.