Robert De Niro slammed the White House Correspondents’ Association, saying it needs to “strap on some balls” after distancing itself from WHCD host Michelle Wolf’s controversial jokes.
While honoring Helen Mirren at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 45th Chaplin Award Gala Monday, De Niro said the WHCA should have stood up for Wolf and for free speech: “There was a lot of truth in Michelle Wolf’s jokes. And the bullies and liars are still intimidated by strength and the truth. Where we run into trouble is when we allow the bullies and liars to dictate the conversation. The [Association] distanced themselves from Michelle Wolf’s performance. Shame on them — stand up, strap on your balls and deal.”
De Niro also poked fun at Trump’s immigration stance: “This is what happens when you have weak immigration laws. Would we be honoring Helen Mirren tonight if that wall had been built? . . . I just feel a little bad for Scott Baio.”
Praising the Oscar winner, he added, “Her artistry also seems to know no limits . . . she’s played more queens than RuPaul.”
Sticking to the political theme, Billy Crystal paid tribute to Mirren by video, saying, “I would have liked to be there tonight, but my lawyer Michael Cohen said to lay low.”
Other speakers included Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vin Diesel, Julie Taymor and Jeremy Irons, who presented the Chaplin Award to Mirren.
The actress told the crowd, including Tony Bennett, Kiera Chaplin and David O. Russell, “A few thank yous are in order . . . to my wonderfully eclectic group of friends who came to speak for me . . . The list reads like one of those fantasy dinner party lists, you know, that put Cleopatra with Elvis, Einstein with Snoop Dogg, or President Trump with Stormy Daniels . . . wait that last one happened.”
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