UNICO President Andre’ DiMino ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About MTV Meeting, Notes UNICO Anti-Bias Committee Targeting ‘Copycat’ Reality Shows on Other Networks

June 24, 2010

FAIRFIELD, N.J., June 24 /PRNewswire/ — UNICO National President Andre’ DiMino today reported he is “cautiously optimistic” about the potential lack of derogatory Italian American references and imagery in the upcoming second season of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” However, DiMino warned that UNICO’s Anti-Bias Committee would focus its efforts on several copycat “reality” TV shows which disparage Italian Americans.

“While encouraged by recent discussions with MTV executives and after viewing the 12-minute promo of Jersey Shore’s second season, recently released, we also realize that, sadly, there is no shortage of people looking to disgrace themselves and their heritage in front of a camera on similar shows,” DiMino said. “While these people seek short-term fame and money, they instead achieve permanent infamy.”

Reality shows that DiMino noted the Anti-Bias Committee is actively monitoring for stereotypical and negative portrayals of Italian Americans include: “Jerseylicious,” “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” and “Jersey Couture” – all set in the Garden State. Most sprouted up following MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” attempting to capitalize on stereotypical images of Italian Americans in New Jersey. “This is not only damaging to Italian Americans but to the State of New Jersey as well,” DiMino added.

DiMino has made more than 40 major media appearances, and has been interviewed for dozens of print stories, in leading UNICO National’s crusade against “Jersey Shore.”

“Big networks see big profits in presenting negative images of Italian Americans to the rest of the world,” DiMino said. “These networks send the wrong message by promoting and glamorizing poor behavior, using negative ethnic stereotypes and spewing racial and ethnic slurs. Shame on them!”

DiMino, representing UNICO, joined John Dabbene, President Emeritus, and Michael Santo, Counsel, New York State Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) of the Order of Sons of Italy in America, in a meeting with four MTV Executives at Viacom headquarters in New York.

UNICO and CSJ leaders were also endorsed by three other national Italian American groups – National Italian American Foundation; National Organization of Italian American Women; and Columbus Citizens Foundation.

Both Dabbene and DiMino stated they were “pleased with the reception and remarks” by the MTV executives. They also stated they were “comfortable” in knowing the executives were concerned enough to meet with them and have an “intelligent and communicative dialogue.” DiMino stated that “the dialogue will continue and we will address any future concerns that may arise.”

MTV executives promised an “open ear” to the leaders. Dabbene said, “We hope to close this chapter on denigration of Italian Americans.” CSJ Counsel Santo remarked, “such a coalition (of Italian American Groups) was essential to helping create a swift response,” and believes that such cooperation is essential in addressing Italian American bias. While no future meetings are scheduled, all parties agreed that “the doors remain open.”

UNICO National, founded in 1922, is the largest Italian American service organization in America. Its volunteer members support charitable, educational & community service projects while promoting Italian heritage. http://www.unico.org


    Sebastian D'Elia
    Communications Director
    UNICO National

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Source: newswire

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