NAB Cancellation: Robert De Niro Nixed From Service to America Awards


WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation revealed that one of the most distinguished actors in feature films released over the last fifty years had been selected as the recipient of the 2024 Service to America Leadership Award — NABLF’s highest individual honor presented in recognition of charitable work and public service.

One day later, the NAB decided to un-invite Robert De Niro to accept the honor on June 4, citing the actor and producer’s “recent high-profile activities” it believes will create “a distraction from the philanthropic work that we were hoping to recognize.”

A NAB spokesperson tells Streamline Publishing’s Radio Ink that the award has been rescinded.

In a statement, the NAB explained that the Celebration of Service to America Awards is dedicating to honoring “the vital local journalism and public service that local radio and television stations provide to their communities,” adding that the event scheduled for June 4 at The Anthem, located on The Wharf in Southwest Washington, D.C., is “proudly bipartisan, uniting those from across the political spectrum to celebrate the impactful work of local broadcasters and our partners.”

De Niro has made headlines over the last 24 hours for clashing with supporters of former President Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate in the 2024 U.S. presidential election, as De Niro spoke at a news conference for President Biden’s campaign outside a New York courthouse where Trump is on trial. The former president responded to De Niro’s comments, creating an air of divisiveness that the NAB chose to avoid next week.

“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,” the NAB said.

Known for iconic roles as an actor, and for serving as a producer, De Niro is also the co-founder of Tribeca Enterprises. The NABLF had cited De Niro’s “passion for human rights and access to the arts” as the co-founder of the Tribeca Festival, which was launched in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Tribeca Festival brings artists and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, music, and audio storytelling.

Additionally, De Niro is part of FilmAid’s Global Artists Council, which uses film and media to provide lifesaving information, psychological relief and hope to refugees and other communities in need; and is a supporter of The Community, an organization that engages Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, world famous artists and international media for peace building and human rights.

De Niro’s decades-long career in the motion picture industry began in the 1960s with roles in several films. He went on to win many prestigious awards including Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in “The Godfather, Part II” and Best Actor in “Raging Bull.” De Niro has earned Academy Award nominations for roles in several films in the Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture categories.

De Niro received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2009, Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood Actor Award from the Hollywood Film Festival, the Stanley Kubrick Award from the BAFTA Britannia Awards, the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by former President Barack Obama.

Previous recipients of the Service to America Leadership Award include former first ladies Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan, renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés, legendary artist Patti LaBelle, “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, award-winning artist John Legend, multi-platform country music star Sara Evans and GRAMMY-winning musician Jon Bon Jovi.

The 2024 Celebration of Service to America Awards is presented by Bonneville International and Hearst Television.


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