You don't get to where I am in life* without meeting a few famous actors. Some are a charming surprise, some are clearly crazy, and some of them seem a lot like you or me. But none of them should be confused with their characters, right? That said, the LAST actor I'd want mad at me is Robert De Niro. Even though he's old (72) and only pretended to be Travis Bickle, he still rocks an air of menace. And if you don't believe me, ask the San Francisco tech CEO De Niro ripped into Wednesday.
It all went down at the Wall Street Journal Magazine Innovator Awards, which was apparently a party at New York's MoMa intended to celebrate and award rich, famous, fancy people things. Whatever. That's not the point.
Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of photo service Flickr and co-founder and CEO of glorified intra-office group IM thingie Slack was there to be honored with the event's "Technology Innovator" award, which meant he had to give a speech in front of all the aforementioned rich, famous, fancy people.
Per Page Six, Butterfield began by saying “We are a long way from San Francisco,” as he noted the “supermodels and movie stars” in the audience. (WHAT STUART ARE WE NOT HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?)
He then, Page Six reports, "joked he was receiving the 'nerd award."
I gotta say, one way to seem like less of a nerd is to avoid gawping at supermodels and movie stars! Sadly, I was not there to advise Butterfield, who then pointed at Robert De Niro, and said “I watched Godfather II on the plane...when you killed Don Fanucci, I liked that.”
Oh, god, poor Stewart! We all say goofy things when we're nervous, right? Though, when most of us know well in advance — to be clear, this award was not a surprise — that we will be addressing a group we prepare something, don't we?
Like his character in Cape Fear, De Niro wasn't ready to forgive Butterfield's presumably extemporaneous remarks. He was next on the stage, and he had some harsh words for the SoMa tech guy:
“Whoever the last speaker was...I thought you were a bit condescending to us actors/celebrities. I’m gonna go on record with you just to say that. And I don’t give a fuck who you are.”
Sorry, just drifted off for like five minutes imagining De Niro using Slack. (It was actually pretty funny!) Anyway, after the actor had vented his spleen, he reportedly delivered a lovely speech honoring Angelina Jolie (their "Entertainment/Film Innovator") and restrained himself from kicking Butterfield's ass in the parking lot.
*lying in bed with three dogs as I type a blog post.