Video footage “sent in by a TTP fan” and posted on the YouTube channel “That’s The Point with Brandon” (TTP) on Monday of Cuomo and two men quickly went viral. In the footage, the men confront Cuomo, who hosts the CNN show “Cuomo Prime Time,” asking for an autograph.
When one of the men calls him “Fredo,” after an Italian-American character from “The Godfather” films, the anchor goes off, threatening to “throw you down these stairs like a f**kin’ punk” and claiming the nickname is “like the n-word for us” Italian-Americans. In the films, Frederico Corleone was the family’s “weak brother,” who is an object of pity before being executed for betraying his brother, Michael.
The video has been viewed 304,000 times on YouTube, and it’s been shared widely across all social media platforms and news and talk shows as well. CNN commented on the incident, saying Cuomo had “defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.”
By 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, though, the video had disappeared from YouTube, with folks who clicked on the link to view it getting the message that it had “been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on harassment and bullying.”
It’s unclear which part of the policy was violated by the video. According to the site’s harassment and cyberbullying policy, content “threatening specific individuals with physical harm or destruction of property”; that is “deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone”; or that “makes hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person” can all prompt YouTube to remove a video, among many other properties. However, it seems likely that one of these rules was violated, in the company’s eyes.
By 9:59 a.m., Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, had tweeted about the video takedown, too, saying it was “unbelievable.”
“YouTube has taken down the viral video showing @chriscuomo threatening to assault a heckler and then grotesquely comparing ‘Fredo’ to the N word,” Donald Jr. tweeted. “Youtube/Google literally covering up his racism and violent threats. You can’t make this stuff up. #StopTheBias.”
Unbelievable: @Youtube has taken down the viral video showing @chriscuomo threatening to assault a heckler and then grotesquely comparing “Fredo” to the N word. Youtube/Google literally covering up his racism and violent threats. You can’t make this stuff up. #StopTheBias https://t.co/A14f5CLSpN— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 13, 2019
Eleven minutes later, the video was back up.
Within minutes of a Tweet by @DonaldJTrumpJr, YouTube seems to have restored the video.— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) August 13, 2019
They only correct themselves when they get called out..
(Yes the video was actually removed):https://t.co/Z4SYyoy1n7
The president shot off a tweet early Tuesday afternoon, too, demanding the already-restored video be put back up and saying “we are living in a rigged & fake media!”
Put it back up. We are living with a Rigged & Fake Media! https://t.co/ZhanbGCxuX— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2019
YouTube has come under fire in recent months for its steadily expanding restrictions on content, including what it defines as hate speech, “instructional hacking” and even ads tagged to target users viewing “Christian” content.
Allegations against YouTube and its parent company, Google, of liberal bias are also widespread. Research psychologist Robert Epstein found that Google’s search suggestions heavily favored Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US presidential election season and that its algorithms can influence millions upon millions of votes. Epstein told Sputnik last December that “95% of contributions from Google employees go to Democrats," and the Center for Responsive Politics found that Google employees and executives gave Clinton $1.6 million for the 2016 election.
However, Google’s liberal mainstream leanings have hit heterodox Democrats, too, with anti-interventionist 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard suing the company last month over what she calls an “arbitrary and capricious decision” to suspend her campaign’s ad account on the site during a prime fundraising period.