Trump, Sean Hannity weigh in on Chris Cuomo's verbal altercation with heckler who called him 'Fredo'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Chris Cuomo is getting support from CNN and his Fox News rival Sean Hannity after Cuomo erupted on a man heckling him at a Shelter Island, N.Y., bar on Sunday.

Video of the incident involving the Cuomo Prime Time host, 49, and an apparent Trump supporter surfaced on Monday and drew comments from many, including President Trump. In the clip, Cuomo is heard cursing at a man whom Cuomo said called him “Fredo” — The Godfather reference is an “Italian aspersion,” Cuomo claimed during the dispute. “It’s like the N-word for” Italians, the anchor said, adding, “Punk-a** b****es from the right call me Fredo.”

The situation escalated on both sides, and at one point Cuomo — on vacation with his family — said to the man, “I’ll f**king ruin your sh**. I’ll f**king throw you down these stairs like a f**king punk.”

It should be pointed out that the person filming the video was either the man who called Cuomo “Fredo” or someone in his group. It was then sent to conservative media personality Brandon Straka, who posted it to YouTube — with the title **EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE!** CNN ANCHOR CHRIS CUOMO THREATENING TRUMP SUPPORTER! — and shared on Twitter.

Straka claimed the man was “just asking for a photo” from Cuomo — the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and “thought his name was Fredo” — the weaker and less intelligent of the Corleone brothers in the Mafia movie franchise — “from being an avid listener of Rush Limbaugh.”

In the video, Cuomo disputed that man’s claim. "You did not think that,” he said. “Don't be a liar. You want to be a man, stand up like a man ... Own what you said."

Cuomo spoke out on Tuesday acknowledging that he “should be better than the guys baiting me.” However, he wrote, “This happens all the times these days. Often in front of my family.” However, he shouldn’t “add to the ugliness” and “should be better than what I oppose.”

That was after the president shared the video, writing that he “thought Chris was Fredo also,” adding,” The truth hurts.” He also added that Cuomo “totally lost it” and worked in a “low ratings CNN” jab.

But Cuomo has a lot of people in his corner — including his network. CNN spokesman Matt Dornic wrote on Twitter that Cuomo was “verbally attacked” with “an ethnic slur” and called it “an orchestrated setup.”

And Fox News’ Hannity said “Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology.” He noted that the Trump supporter was “being a jacka**” to Cuomo while “he’s out with his 9-year-old daughter and his wife.”

The video has also led to a debate about “Fredo” — and whether it’s a slur comparable with the N-word — on social media.

Ben Dreyfuss, editorial director at Mother Jones, weighed in on whether being called "Fredo is 'like the n word' for Italians." (Credit: Twitter/@bendreyfuss)

Donald Trump Jr. also shared some old footage of Ana Navarro-Cárdenas saying “Fredo” on Cuomo’s show without a reaction from the host.

Cuomo is on vacation and will return to CNN on Monday.

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