“We lived spitting distance from the Catholic church, the priests’ rectory, the nuns’ convent, the St. Rose of Lima grammar school—all of it just a football’s toss away, across the field of wild grass. I literally grew up surrounded by God. Surrounded by God and—and all my relatives.”
The Hollywood elite has been painfully boring and predictable for decades, and the use of awards ceremonies to deliver political messages is nothing new. But like everything else in the Age of Trump (with the exception of civility), this behavior has been taken up a notch.
So Robert De Niro’s carefully scripted outburst at the 2018 Tony Awards was surprising only in its predictability. It was just a matter of time before some aging actor shouted “F-ck Trump!” on live TV. (And yes, it was always going to be an aging actor, because no matter how easily a young actor’s knee jerks, he still has to think about the rest of his career, and no matter how liberal the Hollywood elite might be, it’s the people in the red flyover states who buy the lion’s share of movie tickets.) The odds were high, too, that De Niro would be the one to do it, since he’s spent the last several months trying to garner free publicity for a dying career by releasing protest videos attacking Trump and his administration.