Robert De Niro Criticizes Trump Administration's 'Hostility Towards Art' in Lifetime Award Speech

May 09, 2017

Robert De Niro slammed President Donald Trump's government in a fiery speech Monday evening as he accepted the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 44th Chaplin Award, a lifetime achievement honor that has previously been bestowed on Audrey Hepburn, Al Pacino and Meryl Streep.

After thanking the film society for his award, joking that the organization waited until the release of Dirty Grandpa to give it to him, the Goodfellas star turned political, according to an Entertainment Weekly transcript.

Criticizing Trump's administration's "hostility towards art," the 73-year-old actor described cuts to "life-saving and life-enhancing programs" such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as "draconian."

"For their own divisive political purposes, the administration suggests that the money for these all-inclusive programs goes to rich, liberal elites. This is what they now call an alternative fact," he continued, adding: "I call it what it is: Bullshit."

De Niro then spoke directly to the audience at the David H. Koch Theater in New York City, telling them that by being there they were "supporting arts for everyone." He added: "You’re supporting the slapstick of Charlie Chaplin, the great body of work of Marty Scorsese and Barry Levinson, the dumb-ss comedies of Robert De Niro [and] the overrated performances of Meryl Streep," the latter referring to the President's post–Golden Globes tweet about the actress.

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