Social media reacted in outrage after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accepted an Emmy for his daily COVID-19 press conferences Monday, with some critics insisting he’s more deserving of a ‘prison cell’ than he is of an award for his pandemic response.
Cuomo received the Founders Award ‘in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world’ at Monday’s International Emmy Awards ceremony.
He accepted the prize in an a gushing speech after being lauded by a cohort of New York-based A-list stars, including Robert DeNiro, Billy Joel, Ben Stiller and Spike Lee.
The governor was announced as an award recipient on Friday, sparking significant backlash because of his controversial nursing home policy that has since been linked to the deaths of thousands of elderly residents.
‘Andrew Cuomo deserves to be on trial for the elderly people his nursing home order directly murdered. Instead, he’s getting an Emmy,’ The Federalist’s Ben Domenech wrote on Twitter at the time.
A tweet written by Ben Domenesch on Friday read that Cuomo ‘deserves to be on trial’
Cuomo accepted the award virtually on Monday after being praised by Bruce Paisner, International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, who said gushingly: ‘One man took it upon himself to use technology to spread information and tell citizens what to do.
‘Governor Cuomo’s daily press conferences were a whole new dimension of public education. He informed, he demanded and he calmed people down. No one who saw it will easily forget it.
‘People everywhere saw them. I have a friend who got up every morning in Abu Dhabi and watched them on YouTube.
‘As spring turned into summer, the people of New York went from fear of the unknown to increasing knowledge of what was known.’
Robert DeNiro said: ‘ Thank you for your leadership during these trying times. We are New York Tough- smart, disciplined, united and loving.’
Spike Lee said: ‘ Daily I was watching his press conferences, informing us- telling us what to do.’
Rosie Perez, who attended one of the press conferences and spoke with Chris Rock, said: ‘You are the man! You did your thing – every single day you came on the airways and offered your strength and leadership.;
Ben Stiller joked: ‘Now you are the love guv. You’re really now a national sex symbol.
‘Congratulations again, anything you didn’t like that I said was your brother’s idea.’
Billy Crystal fawned over him: ‘In the darkest days of the pandemic, your daily briefings live from New York gave us hope, gave us clarity, gave us the truth and gave us something that we were not getting from Washington: leadership. You are the epitome of New York tough.’
Billy Joel offered the strongest compliment. He said: ‘In the midst of the storm, Andrew Cuomo became the nation’s governor. Stay safe and please wear a mask.’
Ben Stiller, Spike Lee, Robert DeNiro and Billie Joel all recorded congratulatory messages for Cuomo
Rosie Perez and Billy Crystal also gave loving tributes to the governor
But online, assessments of Cuomo’s performance during the pandemic were far less favorable.
Fox News Meteorologist Janice Dean responded to the the stars’ fawning over the governor by writing: ‘Dear Gov. Cuomo, you clearly want to be a celebrity. Please do us all a favor and join your movie star buddies in Hollywood. We could all use a real leader who cares about New Yorkers.’
In a subsequent interview on the network, Dean added that it was ‘sickening’ to see Cuomo accepting the award and ‘profiting off the deaths of our loved ones.’
‘My in-laws were on the curve he flattened. So, it’s jaw dropping, it’s insulting, it’s sickening,’ Dean said. ‘While he accepts his award, many of us just accepted caskets and urns of our loved ones.’
ACTforAmerica founder, Brigitte Gabriel said she agreed with Dean, ‘100%’.
‘Andrew Cuomo is a murderer and deserves no Emmy Award,’ she wrote, later adding in a separate twee that the governor ‘deserves to be in a prison cell’.
Fellow Emmy Award winner, TV host Tim Estiloz, added: ‘[Cuomo] receiving an Emmy for his arrogance and egocentric pontification while thousands of elderly New Yorkers died on his watch – not only cheapens this honor for those far more deserving; but also, is a vulgar & outrageous reward for #cuomo’s abysmal pandemic incompetence.’
Oprah won the award in 2005. Steven Spielberg won the award in 2006
Critic Andrew Hawkins, meanwhile, wrote: ‘Emmy’s are given to actors. The [Greek] word for actor derives from the word hypocrites. I can’t think of a person more deserving of an Emmy than Cuomo.’
Others voiced shock that Cuomo would even agree to accept the award as New York City braces itself for a second wave of coronavirus, as active cases continue to increase.
‘Imagine you’re standing out in the cold rainy weather waiting 5+ hours for a Covid test with absolutely no NYS assistance & you get this post notification that Cuomo is receiving an international Emmy from his mansion,’ Dan Mackey wrote.
Dan O’Sullivan added: ‘I thought, well surely Cuomo won’t actually accept the Emmy though, given how bad that would look.’
‘Nobody gets to call Trump a narcissist anymore,’ piled on Mark Frost. ‘King Cuomo took that to another level.’
Late last week, Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert likening Cuomo receiving an Emmy to the ‘equivalent of giving Hannibal Lecter the Nobel Peace Prize.’
Congressional candidate Errol Webber added: ‘Perhaps they meant to award it to the Viola Davis show “How To Get Away With Murder” but when they searched for that term Andrew Cuomo’s photo came up.’
Amid the mounting criticism, Cuomo issued a pre-recorded acceptance speech during Monday’s ceremony, in which he spoke about the nation’s ‘destiny’.
Cuomo then spoke in pre-recorded acceptance speech where he spoke about the nation’s ‘destiny’.
Cuomo’s book, American Crisis, was published last month
‘What an honor and pleasant surprise during these hard times. I thank the international academy for this incredible award
‘Thank you to all the members of the academy. Your work has brought smiles and relief to so many people during these dark days. I wish I could say my daily COVID presentations were well choreographed, scripted, rehearsed or reflected any of the talents that you advance.
‘They didn’t they offered only one thing; authentic truth and stability. But sometimes that’s enough. Covid will go down in history books as one of the most difficult experiences in a generation. It has been a dark moment indeed. But what strikes me most is that wen things are at their worst, that’s when you can see people at their best. For all the darkness there was light,’ he said.
He went on: ‘People worked together. Everyone did what they could do. Our every day heroes, the doctors and nurses, who worked in emergency rooms. The police, the ambulance drivers, the food store employees – everyone who leaves the safety of their home every day so we can remain int he safety of ours. Actors used their talents to communicate essential facts to Americans.
‘Social distancing, safety and wear a mask, wear a mask because it’s common sense, it’s smart and we care about each other. I’m proud of New Yorkers who had the courage to tell the truth and the strength to stand together.
‘That’s what New York tough really means; to be tough enough to say I love you. I care about you. I need you.
Amid the mounting criticism, Cuomo issued a pre-recorded acceptance speech during Monday’s ceremony, in which he spoke about the nation’s ‘destiny’
Cuomo continued: ‘To see past the color of skin, religion or sexual orientation to see the the humanity in each other. That we are all interconnected and interrelated.
‘Our destiny is not individually determined but rather determined by what we do together. That’s not just my message – it’s a universal message.
‘I appreciate the humor from my friends in the video and I take it in good stride. And to Ben Stiller – I only say NY tough means one more thing. It means Ben. I know where you live.
‘Thank you for this tremendous honor. Give love get love – we will get through this together and we will be the stronger for it.’
Previous recipients of the award include Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.
After accepting his award on Monday, he issued another speech during his press briefing in which he warned COVID hospitalizations could double in the next three weeks, meaning new lockdown measures may be enacted.
New York State’s infection seven-day rolling positive test rate is currently 2.9 percent, and in NYC it is 2.6 percent.
If the Big Apple crosses its three percent threshold, all non-essential businesses will close and indoor dining will stop.
If that figure reaches 4 percent, the city will enter a ‘red zone’, which means all non-essential businesses will close and all dining – whether indoors or outdoors – will cease.