Big Surprise Of De Niro F-Bomb: That CBS Bothered To Censor It

Bruce Springsteen might have been none too happy about having to follow Robert De Niro's surprise f-bomb nuclear attack against President Trump Sunday night at the Tony Awards.

Springsteen’s a genuine showman, and he might have felt upstaged -- in the worst way -- by the De Niro f-bomb onslaught.

De Niro's “F--- Trump!” declaration came during the Tony Awards telecast's final half-hour when De Niro came on stage to introduce a performance from Springsteen, who is currently appearing on Broadway in a one-man, autobiographical show.

De Niro was supposed to simply set the stage for Springsteen’s appearance and then get out of the way. Instead, the 74-year-old actor decided to go off script -- causing headaches for CBS and also creating a morning-after story that would detract attention from the awards themselves.



CBS activated its 10-second delay mechanism to prevent De Niro's f-bomb from being heard on U.S. television. However, the word was reportedly aired unbleeped elsewhere -- including Australia, according to one story I read.

Plenty of people have aired their opinions of De Niro's outburst on social media since the telecast Sunday night (which drew 6.32 million viewers, according to CBS -- up about 4% from a year earlier).

A great deal of the Twitter commentary was in agreement that De Niro went too far and came across as uncouth and unglued. Some of the people who posted those tweets made sure to emphasize, however, that they agreed with De Niro's opinion of Trump.

Others representing the half of the U.S. electorate who support Trump blasted De Niro for his vulgarity. The reaction of the audience inside Radio City Music Hall, who rose from their seats to give “F--- Trump!” a standing ovation, also came in for criticism -- not only on Twitter but in the right-leaning media as well.

The thing that united the two schools of reaction from those who support Trump and those who don't was a revulsion with De Niro's use of the f-word in this context within an annual telecast that is supposed to celebrate Broadway.

To many people, outbursts like this one have no place in a feel-good TV show like the Tonys. And apparently, the f-word is still capable of giving people a shock -- even in this day and age in which the word is in wide use, including on television and on Broadway.

In the Broadway hit “The Book of Mormon,” for example, the phrase “F--- you, God!” is part of the lyrics of one of the musical's song.

Perhaps with that lyric in mind, Robert De Niro didn't realize that the word would be verboten on CBS during a telecast celebrating Broadway.

The f-word is one of only a few words in the entire English language that gives people, and at least some editors, pause when they encounter it.

It might be OK to use the f-word nowadays in The New Yorker, for example, but in countless news stories about De Niro and the Tony Awards this week, the word was published with “f” followed by “bomb” or “word” or three hyphens (including here in the TV Blog).

Only a few other words get this treatment -- the n-word, the c-word (a pejorative used to describe some women) and sometimes the b-word (another word insulting to women that rhymes with “itch”).

While the f-word is apparently OK to use in a variety of dramatic contexts on networks such FX and IFC, to name just two of them, it is still forbidden on CBS and, presumably, the other broadcast networks as well.

It is also likely prohibited on a number of other basic cable networks too. On HGTV, for example, you never hear anyone use profanity, even when they accidentally smash a thumb while hammering a nail, or accidentally shoot a co-worker with a nail gun.

It is the view of the TV Blog that the f-word should not be uttered during the Tony Awards either. In this respect, Robert De Niro, whose proficiency with the f-word in his acting career is well-known, should probably not be asked back.

While they're at it, the Tony organizers should probably avoid inviting Joe Pesci or Samuel L. Jackson either.

9 comments about "Big Surprise Of De Niro F-Bomb: That CBS Bothered To Censor It".
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  1. Michael Kaplan from Blue Sky Creative, June 13, 2018 at 12:38 p.m.

    What annoyed me about CBS's ham-handed censoring is that they not only clipped the offensive word (which, I must agree, was totally out of place at the Tony Awards, especially as part of an introduction to Springsteen's performance), but on the West Coast they blocked the audio of the lead-up to the f-bomb, so audiences who hadn't been tipped by social media had absolutely no idea what the audience was responding to.

    Whatever you think of DeNiro's inelegant rant, CBS did itself no favors in its equally inelegant treatment of it.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 13, 2018 at 12:46 p.m.

    Using certain words on national TV is no less boorish than using them at a family gathering in a house. Broadcast television is an invited guest to a family setting not a theater. 

  3. Ken Kurtz from creative license, June 13, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.

    Most ironically, and paradoxically, the left's apoplexy over the success that Trump is enjoying as our Commander In Chief diminishes the left, and elevates Trump. Tirades like DeNiro's also make it more likely that Trump will get consideration for four more years in 2020 from people that didn't vote for him, thought they would never vote for him, in 2016. Like me.

    I couldn't bring myself to vote for him in 2016, but the ongoing irrational onslaught by the left over the past 18 months since his election victory, as well as his so far wonderful results that have personally enriched me, and made it possible for me to hire additional people have made me think about pulling the lever for him two years from now.

    Who would have thunk that? If I didn't know better, I might think DeNiro was actually a Trump supporter in disguise, as much as his vitriole will help The Donald...

  4. Ken Kurtz from creative license, June 13, 2018 at 5:11 p.m.

    On the plus side, DeNiro's classlessness juxtaposed just beautifully with the TOTAL CLASS of "The Boss" that followed him.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 13, 2018 at 7:01 p.m.

    There are so many other things DeNiro could have said to express that sentiment much more succintly and descriptively. He and connection to wordsmiths could find a statement to let the audience agree that that's what that parasite has and is doing to us. Profanity is useless.

  6. Ken Kurtz from creative license replied, June 13, 2018 at 8:23 p.m.

    Go ahead Paula. Why don't you give it a whirl?

    "Succintly, and descriptively" express DeNiro's hateful, meaningless, and ignorant "sentiment" F-Trump. You intimate that there are so many things DeNiro could have said to better express his "F-Trump"... give us one, or two if you can. Consult a wordsmith if you think it will help you.

    I agree that profanity is useless, in every situation. In this one, it was way more than useless... it denigrated DeNiro, and elevated Trump.

    I don't understand the visceral hatred. The guy is unconventional, and boorish... unfortunately, conventional and genteel wasn't getting anything done in DC which opened the door for the guy getting elected in the first place. 

    He's not F-ing me. His policies have put more money back into my pocket, vastly increased my net worth, and allowed me to hire more people for my business. He's done more good in 18 months than Obama did in 8 years... he's even floated the boat of the African-American community, something Obama made lots of promises about, but failed MISERABLY at.

    The more you people hate on Trump, the more likely he is to be re-elected. Plain, and simple. And the left will react to that truth by continuing to express their hateful sentiment... diminishing themselves in the process, making Trump look better.

    The disconnect of the left regarding this paradox is a bit mind-boggling.

  7. Ken Kurtz from creative license replied, June 13, 2018 at 8:34 p.m.

    By the way, is "parasite" one of your "better words?"

    Another hateful word, seems to me, considering the definition "an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense."

    Primary problem is that all Americans are deriving benefits from what Trump's (a self-made man, and NOT a leech) enacted thus far as President. Your hateful descriptor "parasite" appears off by about 180 degrees.

    He's not deriving benefits from us, we're deriving benefits from what he's done, unconventional in mannerism as what he's doing, and the fashion that he's doing it in may appear. Find a better wordsmith, Paula...

  8. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 14, 2018 at 11:09 p.m.

    Kenny, you need a new pillow and a better night's sleep. You are ranting and not insulting anyone but yourself. Have a nice day.

  9. Ken Kurtz from creative license replied, June 15, 2018 at 7:48 a.m.

    Ranting? Insulting? "You talking to me?" (lifted from the DeNiro film, "Taxi Driver")

    You're obviously mistaking my commentary here with DeNiro's "F-YOU" commentary from the other night. Now THAT was "ranting, and insulting"

    That's the funny thing about the left. 

    They're all over somebody that they HATE for maybe, maybe not having extramarital dalliances as public citizens, but when their guy gets busted, and impeached for workplace sexual harassment as President, for sating his presidential lust with a wide-eyed, fresh out of college intern three decades his junior, they call that "consensual sex."

    Never mind that, by definition (most powerful man on planet earth, in the most powerful office on planet earth, sprinkle in a fresh out of college female intern in that "most powerful man's" employ), the notion that what occurred was "consensual" is IMPOSSIBLE. Never mind that, the left will always lie, and stretch the truth to fit whatever their narrative needs to be at any given moment.

    Is the truth that Trump has effected two things that Obama promised to the African-American community, but failed to bring to fruition, somehow an "insulting rant?" African-American joblessness is at its lowest rate ever (it only increased under Obama) and black on black violence is down significantly (it only went up during Obama's cool, genteel, and IMPERIAL "get nothing done" eight year reign).

    No rants. No insults. I'll just stick with the results, and the facts. Including the fact that misogynist sleazebag Bill Clinton got some pretty good results for us, as well, and I voted for him in '92.

    Many women accused Clinton of sexual harassment, even rape before he entered the Oval Office. And, of course, he clearly demonstrated his propensity for those very things in the White House. I think it's interesting that no woman, not a single woman has ever accused Trump of those things. Ironically, the only thing the thousands of women that have been in Trump's employ throughout the decades have accused him of is PAYING THEM EQUALLY. He has a rock-solid record of that, flying in the face of an American problem that has existed for too long.

    Trump will get results there, too. He will encourage American business, in his unconventional, and sometimes crass way, to START PAYING WOMEN EQUALLY for doing the same work as men. Yes, he will lead on that too, and get results there as well.

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