Robert De Niro calls out Donald Trump's 'bull****' during lifetime award acceptance speech

The acclaimed actor criticised the Trump administration's plans to cut funding for arts

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The Independent Culture

Robert De Niro has torn into the Trump administration's plans to minimise arts funding while accepting a career honour on Monday evening (8 May).

The esteemed actor of such films as Raging Bull and Goodfellas accepted the Film Society of Lincoln Centre's 44th annual Chaplin Award, using his speech as an opportunity to take aim at the policies of Donald Trump.

“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,” De Niro began.

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 programmes, 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 programmes goes to rich liberal elites. This is what they now call an ‘alternative fact,’ but I call it bullshit.”   

De Niro wasn't afraid to send himself up during the animated speech which also saw him reference the President's response to Meryl Streep's impassioned words while accepting her Golden Globe honour in January. 

“By being here tonight, you are supporting arts for everyone,” he continued. “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.”

The career honour was presented to De Niro by longtime collaborator Scorsese who will work with the actor once again on upcoming mob drama The Irishman alongside Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.  

Previous recipients of the award - which is named after silent movie icon Charlie Chaplin who returned from exile in the US to accept in 1972 - include Scorsese, Streep, Alfred Hitchcock, Diane Keaton, Tom Hanks, Barbra Streisand and Morgan Freeman.