By now, everybody’s heard about CNN’s Chris Cuomo, captured on video, going on an epic rant, an epic f-bombing, threatening rant, against an unidentified man in New York who called him “Fredo” — an apparent reference to Hollywood’s “Godfather” brother with the somewhat dim-witted mind of a mobster.
OK. But here’s the thing. If calling an Italian guy a “Fredo” is akin to calling a black dude an n-word, wouldn’t everybody know that?
Wouldn’t media companies the world over insist on journalists writing “Fredo” as “F—o,” or subbing in the “FO-word” when used in a quote — or some other non-offending equivalent?
It’s like it’s a big secret. Only to be told when someone actually says the word.
What’s not a secret is the maniacal screaming of the f-word two dozen times in less than two minutes’ time is, well, maniacal. That’s what Cuomo did, after being called “Fredo,” on the public streets of New York.
“You’re going to have a problem,” Cuomo said.
“I’ll f—ing ruin your sh—,” Cuomo said.
“I’ll f—ing throw you down these stairs,” Cuomo said.
“[Only] f—ass bitches from the right call me Fredo,” Cuomo said.
CNN, believe it or not, rallied behind Cuomo.
And this was Cuomo’s explanation for his behavior: The guy made me do it.
“They use it as an Italian aspersion,” Cuomo said. “It’s a f—ing insult to your people, an insult to your f—ing people.”
Almost as bad as calling your people “f—ing people?” These rules are so hard to remember. But that’s to digress.
“It’s like the n-word for us,” Cuomo said.
Maybe in Italian circles. Outside? Outside of Italian circles, it’s a reference that means dope, dummy, dimwit, dunderhead. All your typical d-words that depict a person with less-than-brilliant IQ.
Still, Matt Dornic, CNN’s spokesman, shrugged off the incident as righteous defense, saying Cuomo simply “defended himself” when he was “verbally attacked” with an “ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup.”
Well and good. Free speech for everyone, after all.
But if “Fredo” is the Italian equivalent of the black world’s n-word — well, that’s just one heck of a secret the Italian world’s been keeping.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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