After a bad moment for CNN’s Chris Cuomo in which he was caught on tape saying that being called “Fredo,” for an Italian, is equivalent to the N-word, The New York Post reports that other Italian Americans tend to disagree.
The publication quotes New York-area Italian Americans weighing in on the subject, noting that while they agree the term is an insult, the consensus is that Cuomo took it too far.
The report quotes a bakery worker identified as Angela who said: “If anything, when we call somebody ‘Fredo’ it’s like [to say they’re] stupid. If somebody were to call me ‘Fredo,’ I would be like, ‘OK, you too.’ … Not like the N-word. That’s another level.”
Another person quoted in the story connected the reference more directly with “The Godfather.” Said Sergio Conte, 54: “Fredo means a backstabber, a person who went against his own kind. He went against his brother. If I was black and somebody called me the N-word, I would flip out.”
Added Matthew Conte, Sergio’s 22-year-old nephew: “Most Italians think they have to have this tough-guy attitude. But when you’re like Chris Cuomo, who’s in the public eye, you have to be more careful about things like that.
“You can’t constantly be playing this tough guy role. Not everybody is Tony Soprano.”
Cuomo apologized for the incident after the video went viral, according to media reports. He’s quoted saying: “This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose.”