The Italian American One Voice Coalition: "Don Jon" Promotes Racist Stereotypes
The Italian American One Voice Coalition, previously known for criticising Robert de Niro, The Sopranos and Bob the Builder, have called Joseph Gordon Levitt's directorial debut 'racist'
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's porn-addicted Don Jon has become the latest movie character to fall foul of a group which aims to improve representations of Italian-Americans on the big screen.
The Italian American One Voice Coalition has accused the Sundance film festival hit of promoting "racist" stereotypes. Levitt, who is Jewish, is told to stop "stereotyping and denigrating" both Italian Americans and Jews via the movie, which he wrote and directed as well as starring in.
"Here we go again with the same shop-worn, racist stereotypes of Italian Americans in movies," said the organisation's founder, Dr Emanuele "Manny" Alfano. "It never ends. Levitt, himself the son of proud parents who once founded the Jewish Progressive Alliance and fought for social justice causes, should be ashamed of himself for the negative portrayal of Italians and Jews in his movie.
"Levitt, much like his pornography-addicted character, needs an intervention and should go into serious therapy for his ethnic denigration of Italian Americans. Levitt ought to quit now, take this trite garbage out of movie theatres and donate his profits to charity."
Don Jon stars Levitt as a young Italian-American who struggles to develop a romantic relationship with Scarlett Johannson's Barbara Sugarman due to his addiction to porn. Sugarman, who is equally addicted to romantic comedies, has been labelled a typical "Jersey Jewish princess" by critics.
The coalition also takes aim at Gordon-Levitt's on-screen dad, played by Tony Danza. The group says Danza is "infamous for his lifelong portrayals of stupid, buffoonish Italian characters, attired in the usual tight white T-shirts".
Italian American One Voice Coalition has previously targeted the Sopranos, Bob the Builder's Mr Sabatini and the entire back catalogue of one Robert De Niro.
Meanwhile, the film has topped a list of the "porniest" movies currently showing in American cinemas published by a US conservative group. The Culture and Media Institute also named lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Colour and two films which star James Franco. Child of God, for which the actor also took on writing and directing duties, deals with necrophilia. Palo Alto, which is based on Franco's own short story, tells the tale of a high school football coach who seduces a student.
Don Jon, Gordon-Levitt's feature-length directing debut, opened in fifth place with a decent $9m in the US at the weekend off the back of strong reviews. It is due to arrive in the UK on 15 November.
They get upset about this but not about Big Ang and Jersey Shore?
How can it be racist when "Italian" and "Jew" are not races?
r2, I think they're using the word in the 19th/early 20th century concept -- the English race, the French race, the German race, the Italian race, etc.
Hey dagos -- "water off a duck's back."
Learn it. Live it.
Don't take the "we're outraged!" route like some other well-known groups.
Doing so earns you no respect because you're demanding it.
Respect much be earned.
Every stereotype is based on real people.
Italians aren't a race.
Gays had enough of being portrayed as the murderous villain in films by 1991's "Silence of the Lambs" film, r5, and they had a shitfit, picketing all over the country. I would bet you that if every film that included a Jewish character, had the character cheap and money hungry, people would be outraged.
The "dumb Guido" stereotype has gotten really old, and derives from a time when Italians were hated in the US and were unable to get jobs. They weren't even looked at as white. They were seen as instigators who were always trying to unionized and make the Irish and Germans vote Democrat. Like the "dumb Guido," the "dumb Pollack" was primarily created out of hatred.
"We would like more positive Italian-American role models such as Joe and Teresa Giudice."
We need biopics about the following:
Because they have Italian heritage?
To whom would this be of interest?
They're probably offended by the fact that JGL's character actually has a black friend rather than just showing the reality which would involve Don Jon screaming "Mulignan" or "Moolie."
It may promote negative stereotypes, but there is nothing racist about it. The guy complaining is actually perpetuating the stereotype of a buffoonish, uneducated goombah.
Why didn't JGL make the character Jewish? Jewish porn addicts don't exist? The movie looks like it was made by the same people who did "A Night at the Roxbury".
The gindaloon complaining is a moron. He thinks it's worse than what Muslims and Arabs get?
[quote] He thinks it's worse than what Muslims and Arabs get?
Where did that say that?
[quote]Italians aren't a race.
indeed. this might be construed as a CULTURAL stereotype, but they also need to find a more interesting thing to rant about
R15, saw him on TMZ and he claimed that Italians are the last group constantly being stereotyped. He is a myopic, self-centered idiot. He thinks Italians are the only ones left who are subject to unflattering portrayals.
But he has a point. The most sterotyped groups in hollywood are usually Arabs, Blacks and Italians. Never the Jews, and they happen to run the industry.
Lets Be Honest
Has he ever seen "Who's the Boss?" Tony Danza is a walking stereotype.
Oh puh-leeze, r18!
He's using "race" in the British sense, apparently. Britons use the word race like we use the words ethnicity or nationality. "The French race, the Swedish race, etc."
You people really need to get out more.
His point was that Italians get it the worst. No one else. He didn't mention any other group who got it as bad.
Who are you talking to/about, R19?
R19, did you read the article? He does mention Tony Danza and called him a buffoon.
The group says Danza is "infamous for his lifelong portrayals of stupid, buffoonish Italian characters, attired in the usual tight white T-shirts".
The ultimate Italian buffoon is currently sitting on the Supreme Court.
I'm Italian and so is my partner. We're both the antigumbas of our families. Holidays are a nightmare. Our families have that backward, mob mentality that makes us cringe. This guy needs to rally the very group he represents. He should start with self esteem therapy for these people. The women are all insecure and troublemakers. They love drama and bring it into the workplace. They're known for it. They are the laughing stock with their facebook pages proclaiming there are two kinds of people; Dose that are Italian and dose who wish they were. How about he start there? This is America and no, people who aren't Italian don't wish they were. The best off socioeconomic group in this country are the WASPS. They run this country. Do they think people of say, German extraction are going around wishing they were Italian? Of course not, dummies. Even the Italians of Italy look down on them. Italy unloaded their peasants on us via Ellis Island. Many people consider them as grey, neither white or black. Society isn't going to cosmetic surgeons to have their noses made bigger. It's just the opposite. What they represent is just the opposite of what is considered attractive. This group needs to start at home and work on assimilating these people with the land in which they now reside. He can start here:
The voice needs to start with these ridiculous Italian facebook pages where people proclaim being Italian makes you better than everyone else.
I love bein an Italian Chick, Italians r sooo much more fun!!
from r29's link:
[quote]We are greatest culture in America FOOD,CLOTHES,MOVIES, THE BEST SPORTS STARS WERE ITALIAN,AND OF COURSE GREAT ITALIAN SINGERS. Talk about anything you want that has to do with this great culture being Italian is not a culture its a gift!!!
[quote]Gays had enough of being portrayed as the murderous villain in films by 1991's "Silence of the Lambs" film, [R5], and they had a shitfit, picketing all over the country. I would bet you that if every film that included a Jewish character, had the character cheap and money hungry, people would be outraged.
The "dumb Guido" stereotype has gotten really old, and derives from a time when Italians were hated in the US and were unable to get jobs. They weren't even looked at as white.
And as soon as they became "white", they became one of the most bigoted of the white ethnic groups, especially toward people of color. I know this from experience.
R9 needs to know that most of those very successful people on that list are not fully Italian. They owe their looks and abilities to fit into the mainstream because they are cut with other ethnicities. Madonna is a perfect example.
Some of these "Italo pride" types don't even distinguish between Italian and Italian-American, when there is, of course, a huge difference.
I'm Italian from Florentine stock, and we've always looked down on the goombahs from Southern Italy. And don't even get us started on Sicilians, who aren't really considered proper Italians.
The "guido" culture perpetuated by some Italian-Americans in the NY tri-state area is not representative of most Italian-Americans. And it does not exist in Italy at all. Italians in Italy are almost indistinguishable from the French in terms of manner and dress. Very sophisticated, cultured and well-groomed. The guidos in the US are a different species.
R34.... you seem to know nothing about the thousands of very accomplished Italians in all fields.
(Not to mention the Italians through history and their unparalleled impact on the history of art, music, science, discovery, medicine, invention....)
I haven't seen the movie but is it really that negative in its portrayal of its characters to merit this kind of response? I thought it was a light comedy about generally decent people with faults. And while these people happen to be of a certain ethnicity and might be very much like certain people of Italian and Jewish backgrounds in Jersey (well, as much as any character is like any real person in any American romantic comedy), is that such a bad thing?
Something tells me they are far less unsympathetic as ethnic types from New Jersey than the Real Housewives!
[quote]Not to mention the Italians through history and their unparalleled impact on the history of art, music, science, discovery, medicine, invention....)
The Mafia, racketeering, gambling, prostitution, drugs....
We must not forget that the people of Italy and Sicily have been genocided and brainwashed by the Catholic Church for 2000 years. Their spirits have been crushed as the great culture of the Roman Empire has been squeezed out of them, to be replaced by the self-loathing of the Virgin-Whore complex and closeted male sexuality. Machismo is just a show. Somehow in America, a healing of these survivors must happen.
Do we despite rape victims for being raped? No! We must teach these people the healing power of American culture and learn to love humanity at large. And media that depicts all Italians as criminals must go the way of Amos 'n Andy. 'The Untouchables” and the “Godfather” series are vile racist garbage!
[quote]The Mafia, racketeering, gambling, prostitution, drugs....
The Jersey Shore, Al Pacino's hammy acting.
"The group says Danza is "infamous for his lifelong portrayals of stupid, buffoonish Italian characters, attired in the usual tight white T-shirts".
But he wears it so well! Isn't that all that really matters?
That's right R43... Jersey Shore truly cancels out the profound achievements of the Renaissance
"And media that depicts all Italians as criminals must go the way of Amos 'n Andy."
There are things on TV right now that are evn more degrading and insulting tha Amos 'N Andy. RHOA, BET, Love and Hip Hop, Tyler Perry shows.
Americans should always hyphenate when referring to their ethnicity.
"And don't even get us started on Sicilians, who aren't really considered proper Italians."
Please explain for the uninitiated
[quote]Jersey Shore truly cancels out the profound achievements of the Renaissance
Actually, it does. We're talking US culture here.
Oh R38, We know more than you do and this why we're saddened. Italy enjoyed one of the most prolific renaissances of all of Europe. However, the people responsible for these strides were not the ancestors of your Italian-Americans who came through Ellis Island at such a late time in history. The peasant stock who came here were shipped off and gotten rid of by the upper class Italians.
Today, Italy cannot generate its own economy just like Greece and Spain. France can. Switzerland does. Of course, Germany does. France is a super power today. Italy is not. The finest cuisine in the world comes from France, not Italy. They did not discover this continent. The Vikings beat them here by a century. They didn't settle this land. The French, Spanish and English beat them out there too. Northern Europeans considered them lazy people as do northern Italians. They are some of the most racist people in America. Racist against those darker than them but what they don't realize is that the rest of Europe does not consider them white but grey. The Catholic church has kept them in a backwards tradition. Italian-Americans don't have a clue about fine Italian heritage. Wouldn't know a concerto or the composer. Sinatra and other pop garbage is all they know.
I haven't seen the movie, but even before reading about the controversy you guys are discussing, I was puzzled as to why JGL went to the trouble of making the character a muscle-head Jersey Italian guy. For those of you who have seen it, did it seem necessary? Why couldn't he just play something more like himself? Is he trying to show his acting chops? I heard him in an interview talking about how much working out he had to do to become the character. Seems like a lot of work over something that is irrelevant to the character.
You know that prejudice better than the rest of us. Don't pretend we have to explain it to you, R48.
From the Renaisance to Joey Lawrence (see link). Both feature masterpieces of Italian design.
R50, Italy and the "Italian lifestyle" are idealized (some would say "fetishized") to a ridiculous degree by Northern Europeans. Go to Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Berlin and ask random people on the street if they consider Italians "grey." You'll get some very funny looks, I assure you.
THANK YOU, r50!! So glad someone else sees this.
Yeah, why pick on poor Tony Danza?
Why do I get the feeling that JGL is following James Franco's career path? Without all the gay of course, but still, I'm distinctly getting a JF feeling about him.
[quote] "Here we go again with the same shop-worn, racist stereotypes of Italian Americans in movies," said the organisation's founder, Dr Emanuele "Manny" Alfano. "It never ends. Levitt, himself the son of proud parents who once founded the Jewish Progressive Alliance and fought for social justice causes, should be ashamed of himself for the negative portrayal of Italians and Jews in his movie
blah, blah, blah. Here we go again, the Italians bitching about other people stereotyping them when it's Italians themselves that live up to every stereotype about them.
Whatever r50 says, Italian food is the most popular in the world, much better than French cuisine.