Chris Cuomo, the CNN talker who flew into a rage when a man called him “Fredo,” the nickname of Michael Corleone’s older, incompetent brother Frederico in the Godfather novels and films, is no stranger to the nickname.
Cuomo, who didn’t threaten to fit the man for a Chicago overcoat but did threaten to throw him down the steps, called himself “Fredo” in an interview in 2010.
The occasion was a chat with Curtis Sliwa, the conservative radio host and founder of Guardian Angels, the private anti-crime force that patrolled the streets of New York, Breitbart.com reported.
Cuomo was upset with the bar patron because, Cuomo said with a straight if angry face, calling an Italian “Fredo” is like calling a black man the “n-word.”
In other words, Cuomo faked the outrage.
The Cuomo controversy occurred after the CNN man’s encounter with the bar patron went viral.
Fredo, Cuomo said, is an anti-Italian slur, “like the n-word for us.”
“I’ll f***ing ruin your s**t,” Cuomo told him. “I’ll f***ing throw you down these stairs like a f***ing punk.”
The fictional Fredo’s father, Don Vito Corleone, never understood such threats and never made them, but Cuomo is more like the real-life Gotti, not the fictional mob boss who was calm, cool, and collected, and let his reputation speak for him.
Anyway, although CNN backed its unhinged star, social media was ablaze with commentary that said two things: Cuomo wasn’t all that upset when CNN talker Ana Navarro-Cárdenas called Donald Trump, Jr. “Fredo” on Cuomo’s own show. But even better, calling someone Fredo is not an ethnic insult.
“Hey @ChrisCuomo, take it from me,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “‘Fredo’ isn’t the N word for Italians, it just means you’re the dumb brother.”
Which is, of course, the real reason Cuomo was furious. Fredo Corleone was the stupid weakling of the fictional crime family who paid with his life for betraying his brother.
Italians chimed in too. Cuomo’s claim, they said, was a fugazi.
Be that as it may, the story just got better when Breitbart.com dug up Cuomo’s interview with Sliwa.
“In a January 2010 interview with Curtis Sliwa on AM 970, Cuomo was questioned about his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and his optimism to run for governor of the state as a Democrat,” the website reported.
In the interview, Sliwa said he had nicknamed the family “la Cuomo nostra.”
“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run, but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo,” Sliwa stated.
“Who am I then, Fredo?” Cuomo asked Sliwa in response.
“Yes, exactly,” Sliwa affirmed. “So you better be careful that your brother Andrew doesn’t kiss you on both cheeks and then all of a sudden they take you out on the middle of the lake and where’s Chris?”
“He kisses me plenty because he’s a great big brother,” Cuomo told Sliwa.
Sliwa’s remark recalled the final few moments of The Godfather Part II, when Al Neri, Michael Corleone’s bodyguard, takes Fredo fishing on Lake Tahoe. As Fredo recites the “Hail Mary” so he’ll catch a fish, Neri puts a gun to the back of his head and pulls the trigger.
Apparently, the exchange didn’t upset Cuomo. He didn’t fly into a rage, or claim Sliwa just called him the n-word, or threaten to throw Sliwa down the stairs. Nor did he suggest that Sliwa might be sleeping with the fishes, or even that the two might go fishing together someday.
Something of an irony is what happened to Sliwa in 1992.
When Sliwa hailed a cab for a ride to his job at WABC radio in New York, two hitmen working for John A. Gotti, prosecutors alleged, shot him multiple times in the legs. Sliwa escaped and fingered his assailants, but federal prosecutors failed to convict the son of the legendary “Teflon Don.” Prosecutors alleged that Gotti Sr. told his son to order the hit.
Whether Cuomo actually believes that “Fredo” is an ethnic insult, which is doubtful, the CNN star has mastered the use of blue vocabulary.
Photo: AP Images