Robert De Niro has backtracked on his stated pre-election desire to punch Donald Trump in the face but many movie fans are hitting back at the Oscar-winning actor by saying they’ll boycott his films anyway to protest his political pugnacity.
De Niro told a celebrity campaign video in a portion that didn’t make the final cut of the #VoteYourFuture video but was subsequently released online: “He’s a punk, he’s a dog, he’s a pig, he’s a con, a bullshit artist…he talks about how he’d like to punch people in the face. Well, I’d like to punch him in the face.”
But the 73-year-old Goodfellas and Taxi Driver star recently climbed down in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s ABC chat show about punching the President-elect saying, “I can’t do that now — he’s the President and I have to respect that position, even though we all know what he is, anyway.
“We have to see what he’s gonna do, and how he’s really gonna follow through on certain things. As we even see now, in a lot of cities, a lot of people are getting very upset and protesting.”
But this was not enough for some moviegoers who have descended en mass on social media to say they won’t be seeing De Niro’s new film The Comedian– in which appropriately he plays an insult comedian and which is released next January — or any of the movies he makes going forward as a result of his verbal aggressiveness.
The charge sheet ranges from De Niro being anti-American, a Trumpophobe, on the wrong side of history, advocating anarchy and riots and even the state of his appearance:
Boycott Robert De Niro’s new film “The Comedian” and send a message that he is on the wrong side of history https://t.co/fRQixE1MTt
— Glenn Quagmire (@marklar1969) November 12, 2016
BOYCOTT Anti-American De Niro: Depressed, spiteful De Niro backs unlawful criminal anti-Trump riots, chaos & anarchy https://t.co/ou0SVgozgx
— Free Two-BearArms (@nathanielbumpo) November 12, 2016
Patriots Boycott de Niro’s new movie. https://t.co/5ObKGySRSQ
— Jillana Logan (@JillanaLogan) November 16, 2016
@WSJ Boycott anything De Niro is playing in! Need to send a message to these naïve idiots that try to harm our country with demonization.
— Douglas Grant Reiman (@dgvreiman) November 16, 2016
— Jeanna M (@ginanotjenna) November 15, 2016
De Niro is supporting the rioting in the streets let’s all show him how we feel and boycott his movie ‘the comedian ‘. Bad judgement Bobby.🚨
— Patricia 🏝👣🐠 (@Sarasotas4me) November 14, 2016
@Variety let’s boycott everything that Robert De Niro’s ever done he’s a racist and has threatened the president of the USA
— john insanity (@johninsanity2) November 12, 2016
ROBERT DE NIRO IS A PIG, RACIST, TRUMPOPHOEBIC, ANARCHIST!! BOYCOTT THIS RACIST! https://t.co/YyK8GkLXAq
— renee woolman (@tweettwits) November 13, 2016
ROBERT DINERO IS AN EMBARRASSING OLD UGLY ACTOR EVERY NEEDS TO BOYCOTT EVERYTHING HE HAS DONE & WILL DO.
— Kathy like garcia (@Kathylikegarci2) October 11, 2016
— Karen Tellier (@tekarceben) November 14, 2016
— Ricky Vaughn 2.0 (@moreRickyVaughn) November 13, 2016
Boycott DE Niro, his anti democratic view points are just un-American https://t.co/qz0YSuyIG0
— Trumpublican&winning (@TdoggFreshX) November 13, 2016
One Tweeter wants the ban extended to other left-wing celebrities:
— Deplorable Robert (@rb87700) November 15, 2016
But another observer acerbically noted that a boycott wouldn’t make much difference to De Niro’s standing in Hollywood given that many of his films have tanked at the box office of late:
@AltRightDarren Don’t need to boycott De Niro’s film… People have been doing that for at least the last 15 years….. Muhahahahha
— john doe (@captainballbags) November 13, 2016
The ongoing political controversy has been unusual for De Niro, whose reticence is the stuff of legend (his former Taxi Driver collaborator Paul Schrader also fanned election flames issuing a call to violence against Trump which he too then retracted).
De Niro is sad right now (he told The Hollywood Reporter that Trump’s victory makes him “feel like I did after 9/11”. )
A moviegoer boycott is hardly likely to lighten his mood but he can take comfort that a call from Piers Morgan last year to blacklist his movies because he had walked out of an interview fell on deaf ears.