Fact Check: Did New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Threaten Actor Ben Stiller?

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) won an International Emmy Founders Award in November of 2020 for his daily COVID-19 briefings during the height of the pandemic.

In a video tribute, celebrities including Spike Lee, Rosie Perez and Robert De Niro praised Cuomo's leadership. Ben Stiller took the opportunity to rib Cuomo, who has come under fire in recent days for his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

New York Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim has accused Cuomo of threatening to destroy him if he did not issue a statement supporting Cuomo's handling of nursing homes.

I'd like to know if Rosie Perez, Spike Lee, Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Ben Stiller, and or Billy Joel wish to redact their support for the NY Nursing Home Serial Killer Andrew Cuomo and his team? I can hear the liberal Ego Crickets chirping away. @DC_Draino https://t.co/0BMAqsmrLK

— BLAZN_247 (@247Blazn) February 15, 2021

The Claim

On November 23, 2020, Vulture published an article claiming that Cuomo threatened Stiller during his Emmy speech, referring to an exchange between the two that took place during the virtual awards ceremony. Cuomo allegedly threatened Stiller, saying, "I know where you live."

Twitter users expressed frustration with Cuomo, Stiller and the other celebrities who participated in the ceremony due to recent allegations about Cuomo's handling of the pandemic.

Don't hear Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Spike Lee, Billy Joel, and the rest of those Commie morons apologizing to the tens of thousands who lost loved ones due to Cuomo's incompetency and deadly policies. #CuomoCoverup

— NoraSullivan (@NoraSullivan82) February 15, 2021

The Facts

For his portion of the tribute video, Stiller said, "I called your brother [CNN host] Chris, who could not understand why you were getting an Emmy since he's the one on television." He continued, ascribing his comments to Chris Cuomo, "Now that you're the 'love gov,' you've kinda transcended politics...you're more of a national sex symbol. He says you'll probably get more dates than votes."

During Cuomo's acceptance speech, he responded: "To Ben Stiller, whose teasing took liberal license, testing the boundaries of decorum and good taste, I only say, New York tough means one more thing. It means, Ben, I know where you live."

The allegation that Cuomo threatened Stiller resurfaced after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio referred to Cuomo as a bully in an interview Thursday morning.

Cuomo's "bullying" is "nothing new," de Blasio told anchor Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday morning, according to a Newsweek story.

The Newsweek story also detailed how Cuomo allegedly yelled at Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens about a comment Kim made regarding the ongoing nursing home scandal.

The Ruling


Cuomo did not threaten Stiller. It was a sarcastic exchange during an awards ceremony.

New York Governor Cuomo Holds A Press
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) warned President Donald Trump that a delay in federal aid would hamper the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. He is shown above speaking at a news conference on September 8, 2020, in New York City. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images/Getty