There used to be a time that if Robert De Niro opened his mouth, you might expect him to say something like, “I have nipples Greg, can you milk me?“, and we’d all laugh. But ever since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, Robert De Niro has taken as many opportunities as possible to let us all know how he really feels about the situation. When Bobby D approaches a live mic, there’s a very good chance he’s either going to drag Trump, get bleeped several times for saying “fuck” while dragging trump, or both. Last night’s SAG Awards were no exception. He didn’t drop any f bombs, and he didn’t name Trump by name, but he did make it very clear he’s still on Team Not-Trump.
76-year-old Robert was presented with the Life Achievement Award at the SAG Awards last night, which means he already knew he was going to win and came prepared with some thoughts. After being introduced by fellow Scorsese muse Leonardo DiCaprio, and accepting a minute-long standing ovation, Robert De Niro thanked all the actors in the room for supporting each other, then thanked the film and television actors union SAG-AFTRA for working on behalf of all of them. That led Robert into a conversation about unions, what kind of politicians support unions, the other kinds of things said politicians usually support (like diversity, gun control, and reproductive rights), and then (ahem) type of politicians who are anti-union.
“I thank SAG-AFTRA for tirelessly fighting on our behalf for workplace and economic gains and respect. And that especially bears remembering these days, when there’s so much hostility toward unions. Political leaders who support unions are more likely to support affordable care act, equitable taxes, humane immigration regulations, a safe environment, a diverse citizenry, reproductive rights, sensible gun control and fair wages and benefits. We owe them our support and we owe them our vote.”
Robert then acknowledged how political his acceptance speech was getting, by saying that not only does he deserve to get political, but he owes it to his privilege as a famous person. It’s a good thing Robert De Niro delivered this speech at the SAGs and not the Golden Globes, because something tells me a certain host would have been rolling their eyes while sipping a pint.
“I can imagine that some of you are saying, all right, all right, let’s not get into the politics and all that stuff. But we’re in such a dire situation that is so deeply concerning to me and so many others, I have to say something. And I thought I said it pretty well to Variety the other day, so I’m going to quote myself. There’s right and there’s wrong, and there’s common sense and there’s abuse of power. And as a citizen, I have as much right as anybody – an actor, an athlete, a musician, anybody else – to voice my opinion, and if I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I’m going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power.”
Even though Robert De Niro didn’t say the names Donald or Trump, it’s pretty obviously Robert was talking about Trump and his cronies. And I’m sure Trump will spit something back at Robert, just as soon as all Trump’s kids rub their brain cells together and come up with a real zinger. It’s just too bad that Robert De Niro accidentally gave them some material to work with in his speech. Robert opened up his speech by saying he’s grateful to have had a “career with dignity and creative fulfillment.” Then again, even Robert De Niro would probably recognize that there wasn’t a whole lot of dignity involved in the making of Dirty Grandpa.
Here’s more of Robert De Niro with his award: