Fact Check: About the Rumor that the Screen Actors Guild Expelled Robert De Niro, Citing Anti-Trump Comments

America's Last Line Of Defense and Getty Images
America's Last Line Of Defense and Getty Images


The Screen Actors Guild expelled actor Robert De Niro, saying "he insulted half of America."


Rating: Labeled Satire
Rating: Labeled Satire

On May 31, 2024, the Facebook page America's Last Line Of Defense shared a meme claiming that the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) expelled Robert De Niro. The meme included two photos, one featuring signage from the annual SAG Awards and the second featuring the unsmiling 80-year-old actor, along with this text: "Screen Actors Guild Expels Robert De Niro: 'He Insulted Half of America.'"

(America's Last Line of Defense/Facebook)

The post's full caption read as follows:

DeNiro has been falling further and further from Hollywood's grace with his unwanted outbursts.

"Having an opinion is one thing. Calling half the country 'terrorists' is another."

Luckily for the washed-up actor, his career is pretty much over anyway.

The post received 1,500 comments and 685 shares within hours of posting, with many commenters apparently pleased at what they took to be actual news of De Niro's ousting from Hollywood's film and TV performers' labor union.

"Wow, I'm shocked. Screen Actors Guild actually has some honor??" wrote one follower, while another responded, "Excommunicated by his peers. Awesome."

However, this post did not factually recount real-life events. The America's Last Line of Defense Facebook page identifies itself as a "satire/parody" account that is run by an entity that identifies itself as "Busta Troll." The meme itself displays a "satire" rating label in its lower-left corner.

Additionally, the author of the post added the following message in the replies:

We hope you've enjoyed the end-of-the-month run of "Punishing Robert DeNiro" memes. The best part about these storylines is that the cult actually believes they're "half of America." They're not even half of Republicans anymore. The GOP will hold its nose and vote Trump rather than hand the White House back to Biden, but make no mistake...they regret his existence in general.

DeNiro? He's a national treasure who helped rebuild lower Manhattan after 9-11 by co-founding the Tribeca Film Festival while Trump looked on from 5th Ave, wondering how he could profit from the tragedy.

In Taterworld, though, Bob is on the outs and considering opening a bar where he can hang out with Garth Brooks and talk about how things used to be when they still had fame and fortune. Yes, they really are that simple. God Bless America.

Further, no reputable news outlet or credible source has reported on De Niro's expulsion from SAG, and there is no evidence elsewhere to support this Facebook claim, including on the official SAG website. De Niro has been nominated for seven SAG awards and received the 2019 Life Achievement Award from the organization. He remains a highly respected actor with numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, and he continues to actively participate in the film industry, as both an actor and producer. If there are any new developments regarding his SAG expulsion, they would be widely reported in the media, but as of now, no such expulsion has occurred.

The confusion likely arose from readers conflating SAG with NAB, or the National Association of Broadcasters, which rescinded De Niro's America Leadership Award, a high honor recognizing significant contributions to public service.

De Niro has long been a vocal critic of former U.S. President Donald Trump and was due to receive the award from NAB's Leadership Foundation at a ceremony scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., on June 4, 2024.

During a press conference De Niro held on May 28, 2024, outside the Manhattan courthouse where Trump was found guilty two days later on 34 counts of falsifying business records, the "Raging Bull" actor accused Trump, a fellow New Yorker, of wanting to "destroy not only the city, but the country."

De Niro's statements criticizing Trump led the NAB to withdraw the award to avoid distraction from the philanthropic work the award aimed to recognize. Following De Niro's press conference, on May 30, 2024, the NAB released a statement to address the impending change to the awards ceremony schedule.

"This event is proudly bipartisan, uniting those from across the political spectrum to celebrate the impactful work of local broadcasters and our partners," a spokesperson for NAB said in the statement, according to The Hill. "While we strongly support the right of every American to exercise free speech and participate in civic engagement, it is clear that Mr. De Niro's recent high-profile activities will create a distraction from the philanthropic work that we were hoping to recognize. To maintain the focus on service of the award winners, Mr. De Niro will no longer be attending the event."

So, although De Niro has not been stripped of any awards or membership by SAG and he is still a member of the Hollywood labor union, his 2024 Service to America Leadership Award from NAB was rescinded.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.



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---. "National Association of Broadcasters Rescinds De Niro Award Following Trump Courthouse Presser." The Hill, 30 May 2024, https://thehill.com/homenews/media/4694239-broadcasters-de-niro-award-trump-courthouse-hush-money-trial/.

---. "National Association of Broadcasters Rescinds De Niro Award Following Trump Courthouse Presser." The Hill, 30 May 2024, https://thehill.com/homenews/media/4694239-broadcasters-de-niro-award-trump-courthouse-hush-money-trial/.

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"Robert De Niro Reportedly Loses Prestigious Award over Anti-Trump Outburst: 'This Event Is Proudly Bipartisan.'" Yahoo News, 31 May 2024, https://www.yahoo.com/news/robert-niro-reportedly-loses-prestigious-160305176.html.

The Times and The Sunday Times. Robert De Niro: "Trump Wants to Destroy the Country." 2024. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDfmjzPx8dc.