Recently in the news there's been some kerfuffle about a verbal exchange between CNN anchorman, Chris Cuomo, and a person who called him “Fredo”. In the cell-phone video, the man claims
I thought that was who you were
Cuomo responds that his name is Chris and he works for CNN. He then explains why he is offended by the term “Fredo" and why it is insulting for Italian-Americans.
Only punk-ass bitches from the right call me Fredo.
Fredo is from The Godfather. He was a weak brother. And they're using it as an Italian aspersion. […]
[“Fredo“] is like the n-word for us.
During the argument, Cuomo's anger escalates and in the ensuing expletive-ridden tirade, he threatens to use physical violence. The man repeatedly but calmly (probably seeking to bait Cuomo) interjects
I thought that was your name
Many reports clarify that "Fredo" does not carry the same cultural baggage or level of hostility as the n-word. Italians were neither enslaved nor victims of a systematic genocide in the US or in Europe. I am unaware if this term is considered a slur in the UK, I suspect it isn't, it seems to be exclusively American English. Hannah Gold for The Cut writes
…the term “Fredo” has become a cultural short-hand for “incompetent, cowardly, large adult son.”
In fact, online it has been suggested that Chris Cuomo may have an inferiority complex. His elder brother, Andrew Cuomo, has been governor of New York since 2011. And their father, Mario Cuomo, served eleven years as governor of New York.
Unfortunately, the President of the USA decided to stoke things further by tweeting the following
I thought Chris was Fredo also.
The Truth hurts.
Totally lost it! Low ratings at CNN
In another Tweet, he added
Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn't be allowed to have any weapon. He's nuts!
- What did the POTUS mean by saying he thought Chris was Fredo also?
Did he think the CNN news anchor was called Fredo? Was he insinuating that Cuomo was weak and less intelligent than his elder brother? Was the President indirectly insulting Italian Americans? Was he insinuating that the family Cuomo had Mafia connections?
- When did calling someone “Fredo” become an insult? Is it considered racist in the US?