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“You think you’ve got it bad, LBGT community? I don’t think you know what it’s like to be really discriminated against,” he quipped upon taking the stage.
Making a reference to Marco Rubio’s “small hands” comments that fueled the public feud between the former candidate and Trump, De Niro said, “I recently turned on the television news and saw this odd guy with little hands, and he was raving. Turns out, the ones being discriminated against are straight, middle-aged white men.”
The actor went on to take another shot at Hollywood’s diversity issue, joking that he’d lost out on many roles to the likes of Michael B. Jordan, John Boyega and Jennifer Lawrence.
“It makes sense. I’ve been losing parts right and left to what used to be called ‘diversity actors,'” said De Niro. “One that really hurts, seeing the role of Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton going to Corey Hawkins. And I can’t remember the last time I got a Teen Choice Award. … It’s not easy being a straight white man.”
Ending his speech on a more serious note, De Niro left the audience with empowering words on the importance of supporting LGBT rights.
“As an actor, I don’t judge the characters I play. As a person, I don’t judge the characters I play with,” he said to cheers and applause from the crowd. “I was fortunate to grow up in an atmosphere where freedom of expression in art and in life were the norms. Now, we have to look outside our bubble to the world where, because of religious beliefs or ignorance or mean-spiritedness, it’s not so easy.”
He concluded, “I’m proud to stand with you. I’m GLAAD.”
Watch De Niro’s full speech below.
— GLAAD (@glaad) May 15, 2016
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