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Robert De Niro says Gotham Awards Speech was censored

Rhododendrites | Wikimedia Commons

On Nov. 27, Robert De Niro’s speech was reportedly censored by the Gotham Awards when he presented the Gotham Historical Icon and Creator Tribute award to the cast of “Killers of the Flower Moon.” De Niro intended to criticize former President Donald Trump and the longtime mistreatment of Native Americans in the United States.

The LA Times reported that before handing the award out, De Niro read the original speech from his phone and said, “The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out — I didn’t know about it — and I want to read it.”

De Niro said the speech was edited before being fed to the teleprompter. He was confused because what he was reading did not line up with what he had planned on saying.

The actor continued by saying, “In Florida, young students are taught that slaves developed skills that could be applied for their personal benefit.”

De Niro ended the speech by sarcastically thanking the film’s distributor, Apple TV+ and the Gotham Awards. “So I’m going to say these things — to Apple and thank them, all that,” he said. “Gothams. Blah blah blah. Apple. But I don’t really feel like thanking them at all for what they did. How dare they do that, actually.”

“Killers of the Flower Moon” came out earlier this year and is based on a nonfiction book by David Grann.

The film follows a series of murders of Osage tribe members in the 1920s who had access to oil. More than 60 Osage people were murdered by white Americans for oil. An organization of undercover agents, a precursor to the FBI, investigated the murders and brought an end to the killing spree.

De Niro had the intention of using his platform on the Gotham Awards stage to shed light on the perpetual mistreatment of Native Americans in Hollywood and the United States as a whole.

After the film’s cast came onstage to join De Niro, co-star Lily Gladstone thanked the filmmakers for consulting with indigenous tribes and told others to do the same. “I challenge everybody in this room who makes films: Invest,” she said. “When you have a budget, invest it in the people. Invest in the people that you’re telling your story about. Your film will be better for it. Your lives will be better for it.”

Multiple news outlets, including the LA Times and Rolling Stone, reported that the Gotham Film & Media Institute and Apple have yet to comment on De Niro’s censorship claim.

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