A letter to Senator Christopher Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc
Dear Mr. Dodd:
The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition’s sole focus is to battle negative stereotyping and discrimination against Italian Americans. It is the only national Italian American organization with this mandate.
As such we would like to know when the entertainment and advertising industries will stop negatively stereotyping Italian Americans with anti Italian American reality shows, dramas and movies that are often heavy with organized crime themes.
Many Italian Americans feel Hollywood is making a fortune discrediting Italian Americans. We especially deplore Italian American actors, writers, directors and producers who follow Hollywood’s marching orders by contributing to the negative portrayals of Italian Americans. These same Italian Americans continue to prostitute their heritage for the almighty dollar.
Negative Italian Americans characters in the media are now so ingrained in our sub culture that many Italian Americans – especially our youth – want be like them!
We must hold Hollywood accountable for glorifying these negative stereotypes which are synonymous with the lowest common denominator.
Try to recall the last time you saw on the big or little screen a positive main character, or even minor character, who was Italian American. Where are the Italian American judges, teachers, nurses, doctors or lawyers?
We applaud actor Joe Mantegna who portrays David Rossi in the TV show ‘Criminal Minds’. In the series “Joan of Arcadia” he’s stars as Joan’s father Will Girardi. In “First Monday” he is Justice Joseph Novelli
Joe states,” Every single one of those characters, I chose the last names. I told the directors, including Woody Allen, and they went for it. I like to make them Italian-Americans when they’re positive roles to balance the scales. When given the opportunity, I try to show that Italian-Americans can be Supreme Court justices, work for the FBI, can be doctors, lawyers, whatever.”
The Italian American One Voice Coalition asks only that Italian Americans be treated fairly.
We ask that you in your capacity as CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America you do what needs to be done to rectify the unjust treatment of Italian Americans by the entertainment industry.
We demand to be treated like any other American. No better – no worse!