Robert De Niro eviscerates Trump's claims that films cause violence: 'He's afraid to defy the NRA'

De Niro calls president a 'scam artist' with 'no morals' and 'no ethics'

Clémence Michallon
New York
Tuesday 01 October 2019 16:50
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Joker final trailer (2019)

Robert De Niro has taken down Donald Trump’s claims that films cause violence, pointing to the president’s close ties with the NRA instead.

The actor, who appears in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman with Al Pacino, commented on Mr Trump’s remarks during a recent interview, for which his co-star was also present.

“This is absolute nonsense,” De Niro said of Mr Trump’s claim, according to Variety.

“It’s bulls***. This guy is afraid to defy the NRA. He calls Washington a swamp because all he knows is a swamp. He’s a classic hustler and a scam artist. He has no morals. No ethics.

“If people don’t wake up and he gets re-elected, it’s going to be very, very bad. Anybody who feels that way should say it. If you wait to say something, before you know it the dictators and despots come to power.”

The NRA spent $30m (£24.5m) to support Mr Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Trump railed against Hollywood films in August, accusing filmmakers of wanting to “inflame and cause chaos” and “create their own violence”.

The president’s comments seemed directed at the time against the unreleased thriller The Hunt, in which wealthy elites hunt down “deplorables”.

Universal Pictures shelved the film, which was supposed to come out on 27 September, in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

The debate over whether movies can ever tie into real-life violence has been reignited with the impending release of Joker, in which Joaquin Phoenix stars as the Batman nemesis – and in which De Niro plays the talk show host Murray Franklin.

Families of victims of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting, which happened at a screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight, have expressed concern over the film.

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Warner Bros, Joker‘s distributor, has said that the movie is not an endorsement of real-world violence.

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De Niro previously commented on the Joker controversy at the premiere of The Irishman at the Toronto Film Festival.

“I like Todd Phillips and Joaquin. They were terrific to work with and, you know, I’m a small part of it and they kind of – the association of me with Taxi Driver and King of Comedy is part of it, though it’s different, you’ll see. When you see the movie you’ll get why,” he told Variety.

“So that’s it. We’ll see what happens. I know there’s controversy.”

Phoenix recently walked out of an interview after being asked about the risk that the film might incite acts of violence in real life, while cinemas in the US have banned masks, costumes and toy weapons at screenings of the film.

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