New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the n-word live on-air during a radio interview Tuesday.
Cuomo, who regularly appears as a guest on The Roundtable with Alan Chartock on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, was discussing the controversy around celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day simultaneously on Monday.
Early on in his nearly 30-minute appearance, Cuomo said he wouldn’t tolerate negative Italian American stereotypes and later, when discussing the state budget, “apropos of nothing,” went back to the subject of treatment of Italian Americans, referencing a New York Times op-ed headlined “How Italians Became ‘White’”.
“They used an expression that Southern Italians were called, I believe they were saying Southern Italians, Sicilians — I’m half Sicilian — were called, quote-unquote and pardon my language, but I’m just quoting the Times: ‘n—– wops,’” Cuomo said. “N-word wops, as a derogatory comment. When I said that wop was a derogatory comment, that’s when the Times Union told me, no, you should look in Wikipedia, wop really meant a dandy.
“I’m sure that’s what they were saying to me back in Queens,” Cuomo said while laughing. “’You’re a dandy,’ when they looked at me with scorn and gave me a hand gesture and called me a wop.”
Cuomo’s snafu comes just two months after his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, was seen getting into an altercation after someone called him “Fredo,” an apparent reference to Fredo Corleone, often considered the weakest of Don Vito Corleone’s sons in “The Godfather,” in a video that went viral. In the video, Cuomo compares the use of “Fredo” to the n-word, suggesting it’s as offensive to Italian Americans as the latter is to African Americans.