In a move that highlights the increasing polarization in Hollywood and beyond, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has rescinded a philanthropy award they had planned to bestow upon Robert De Niro. The decision came after the veteran actor’s vitriolic outburst against former President Donald Trump at a recent Biden campaign event.

The NAB’s decision to revoke De Niro’s award and disinvite him from the prestigious Celebration of Service to America awards event was rooted in concerns that his politically charged remarks would overshadow the purpose of the event. The association, known for its commitment to recognizing the philanthropic efforts and civic contributions of broadcasters, feared that De Niro’s actions would create an unwelcome distraction.

During a press conference outside the Manhattan courthouse, where Trump is currently facing criminal charges, De Niro launched a scathing attack on the former president. “I don’t mean to scare you. No, wait, maybe I do mean to scare you,” the 80-year-old actor declared. “If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss these freedoms goodbye that we all take for granted.” His inflammatory rhetoric continued with a heated, expletive-laden exchange with Trump supporters, further cementing his stance as a polarizing figure.

Alex Siciliano, NAB’s senior vice president of communications, addressed the decision to rescind De Niro’s award in a statement. “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,” Siciliano said. “To maintain the focus on service of the award winners, Mr. De Niro will no longer be attending the event.”

Siciliano emphasized that the event aims to celebrate the impactful work of local broadcasters and their contributions to their communities, highlighting its bipartisan nature. “This event is proudly bipartisan, uniting those from across the political spectrum to celebrate the impactful work of local broadcasters and our partners,” he stated. “We look forward to a night of celebration honoring the exceptional work of broadcasters and our partners who make a difference in their communities every day.”

Despite the snub, De Niro appeared unfazed, telling The Hill, which first reported on the rescinding, that he supports and appreciates the work of the NAB and wishes it well.

Former President Trump, never one to shy away from a confrontation, responded to De Niro’s comments with his characteristic bluntness. “I never knew how small, both mentally and physically, Wacko Former Actor Robert De Niro was,” Trump railed in a Truth Social post.

This incident is a stark reminder of the deep divisions within American society and the entertainment industry. De Niro’s public denunciation of Trump, combined with the NAB’s subsequent decision to revoke his award, underscores the challenges faced by organizations striving to remain nonpartisan in an increasingly polarized landscape.

As the 2024 election approaches, expect more clashes between Hollywood’s liberal elite and conservative figures. In the meantime, the NAB will continue to honor those who make genuine contributions to their communities, ensuring that the spotlight remains on service rather than divisive rhetoric.