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NAB Withdraws De Niro’s Service Award

His appearance would “create a distraction” from philanthropic-oriented event

Actor Robert De Niro, standing at a podium, points to supporters of former President Donald Trump during a news conference outside Manhattan criminal court in New York,
Robert De Niro points to a supporter of former President Trump during a news conference outside Manhattan criminal court in New York. Photographer: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Robert De Niro won’t be receiving the Service to America Leadership Award from the NAB Leadership Foundation after all.

“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that we were hoping to recognize,” said NAB spokesman Alex Siciliano in a statement, confirming that the award has been rescinded.

“To maintain the focus on service of the award winners, Mr. De Niro will no longer be attending the event.”

The Celebration of Service to America Awards will be held at a venue in Washington next Tuesday.

The earlier announcement that the actor would be honored came on the same day that De Niro and two former Capitol police officers appeared outside the courthouse where Donald Trump’s hush money trial was finishing to voice support for the Biden campaign and denounce Trump. De Niro was heckled by Trump supporters and engaged in a shouting match with them.

As reported by the Associated Press, a Biden adviser said De Niro and the officers were not there to talk about the Trump trial specifically but to exploit the media presence around the legal proceedings. AP also reported that Trump advisers said the Biden team’s presence validated Trump claims that his prosecutions are driven by politics.

Siciliano called the Service to America event “proudly bipartisan” and said “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.”

Trump subsequently was convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Sentencing is set in July.