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‘I Don’t Make Movies for Rich Liberal Elites’ - De Niro Defends Fed Arts Spending

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Yeah, he’s talkin’ to Trump...and you.

On Monday night during his speech accepting the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Chaplin Award, actor Robert De Niro blasted the Trump administration.

"I don't make movies for rich liberal elites,” De Niro said at the event, which took place at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theatre. “We make movies to entertain audiences. Audiences vote by seeing them; critics vote by writing about them; and then posterity takes its time to decide if they’re art - or not.”

He continued:

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because of our government’s hostility towards art. The budget proposal, among its other draconian cuts to life-saving and life-enhancing programs, eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 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,’ but I call it bullsh*t.   

De Niro also noted that the namesake of his award, Charlie Chaplin, was "an immigrant who probably wouldn't pass today's 'extreme vetting,’" adding, "I hope we're not keeping out the next Chaplin."

Those at the event to praise De Niro were a who’s who of liberal Hollywood, including Sean Penn, Harvey Keitel, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas and Barry Levinson, and director Martin Scorsese, who has directed De Niro in eight films. Also in the audience were Michael Mann, Christopher Walken, John McEnroe, John Turturro, Marisa Tomei, Michael Barker, Avi Lerner, Katie Couric and Harvey Weinstein.


De Niro also praised his fellow stars, sarcastically describing some of them in words used in the tweets of President Trump.  “By being here tonight, you are supporting arts for everyone,” DeNiro said. “You’re supporting the slapstick of Charlie Chaplin, the great body of work of Marty Scorsese and Barry Levinson, the dumb-ass comedies of Robert De Niro, the ‘overrated performances of Meryl Streep’ and your own taste and needs.”

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