Robert De Niro calls out government's 'blatant abuse of power'

Los Angeles, Jan 20 (PTI) Hollywood veteran Robert De Niro, who was given the Life Achievement Award at SAG awards, took his time on the stage to appeal to the voters to look for candidates who support unions.

The 76-year-old actor said the support from SAG meant a lot to him, especially 'these days, when there's so much hostility towards unions'.

'Political leaders who support unions are more likely to support Affordable Care Act, equitable taxes, humane immigration regulations, a safe environment, a diverse citizenry, reproductive rights, sensible gun control, and fair wages and benefits. We owe them our support and we owe them our vote,' De Niro said in his acceptance speech as reported by Deadline.

The actor said since he was in a position to raise his voice against 'blatant abuse of power', he would do so whenever the situation demanded.

'I imagine some of you are saying, ‘Alright, let’s not get into the politics.’ But we are in such a dire situation that is deeply concerning to me, and to so many others, so I had to say something. There’s right and there’s wrong, and there’s common sense and there’s abuse of power, and as a citizen I have as much right as anybody—an actor, an athlete, a musician, anybody else—to voice my opinion.

'And if I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I’m going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power,' De Niro said as the audience rose to give him a standing ovation.

The award was presented to 'The Irishman' star by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who called the senior actor 'elemental'.

'It feels as if he's always been here and always will be here,' DiCaprio said.

He then recalled his first experience of working with De Niro on 'This Boy's Life' in 1993.

'To share scenes with an artist of his magnitude was monumental. It was a life-changing experience,' DiCaprio said.

He also paid tribute to the partnership between De Niro and director Martin Scorsese.

'... Inarguably the greatest partnership in cinema history. They have single-handedly defined and elevated an entire genre,' the 45-year-old actor said.

In a first, the trio of Scorsese, De Niro and DiCaprio will be working in the director's next 'Killers of the Flower Moon'. PTI RDS BK BK