During the Tony Awards in New York City Sunday night, actor Robert De Niro made remarks too vulgar for television. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those remarks involved President Donald Trump. The crowd ate it up, but many watching on TV wondered just what he said.
“Okay, what did De Niro say that got censored AND a standing ovation?” asked Mandi Bierly.
Okay, what did De Niro say that got censored AND a standing ovation? #tonyawards
— Mandi Bierly (@MandiBierly) June 11, 2018
“DENIRO GOT BLEEPED WHAT DID HE SAY,” actress Julia Murney asked in all caps.
DENIRO GOT BLEEPED WHAT DID HE SAY #TonyAwards
— Julia Murney (@JuliaMurney) June 11, 2018
De Niro said, “F**k Trump!” He did not just say it once, he said it twice. This got him a standing ovation.
— Variety (@Variety) June 11, 2018
De Niro’s jab was not the only anti-conservative remark of the Tony Awards. When actor Andrew Garfield won “Best Actor in a Play,” he got a dig in at Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who just won the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
“We are all sacred and we all belong, so let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked,” Garfield quipped.
His comments not only made light of Phillips’ religious beliefs on marriage, but they also suggested that anyone who disagrees with same-sex marriage does not “belong.” Furthermore, his remark suggested that LGBT “belonging” outweighs an American’s right to free speech, to opt out of making a product that would express a message with which he or she disagrees.
So many LGBT activists and well-meaning Americans think bakers like Phillips refuse to serve same-sex weddings because they have an animus against gay people. This is far from the case — Phillips gladly served gay people at his bakery, and even in the act of refusing a same-sex wedding cake for the two gay men who came to request it, he immediately offered to sell them anything else in his shop.
Phillips’s case, and those like it, are about free speech, not discrimination against gay people. This is even clearer when contrasted with a shop that hung a “No Gays Allowed” sign — something the Supreme Court ruling explicitly forbids and American law excludes as discrimination.
Garfield’s pot shot at Phillips only solidifies the argument that Phillips was engaged in discrimination, not free speech. It is important for Americans to understand that this is wrong.
Both De Niro’s quick “F**k Trump!” and Garfield’s dig at Jack Phillips assumed that — at least for the audience at the Tony Awards — the president and the baker are beyond the pale, and that all good people should agree that Trump should be rejected and that “belonging” should outweigh the Christian baker’s free speech.
Broadway’s Overton Window has shifted so decisively to the Left that actors like De Niro and Garfield seemingly cannot imagine how a person could defend Trump or Phillips in any way.
This is dangerous, because Trump is president — he has done good things and bad things, and Americans need to be able to evaluate him objectively. Similarly, the digs against Phillips further undermine people’s free speech to disagree with the celebration of LGBT issues.
De Niro’s “F**k Trump” should not have received a standing ovation, even in liberal Broadway. Actors may give bad political advice, but people watch and listen to them anyway. These remarks will only worsen America’s polarized culture.