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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.

by Anonymousreply 6010/07/2013

They get upset about this but not about Big Ang and Jersey Shore?

by Anonymousreply 110/03/2013

How can it be racist when "Italian" and "Jew" are not races?

by Anonymousreply 210/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 310/03/2013

Italians aren't a race.

by Anonymousreply 610/03/2013

"We would like more positive Italian-American role models such as Joe and Teresa Giudice."

by Anonymousreply 810/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 1210/03/2013

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".

by Anonymousreply 1310/03/2013

The gindaloon complaining is a moron. He thinks it's worse than what Muslims and Arabs get?

by Anonymousreply 1410/03/2013

[quote] He thinks it's worse than what Muslims and Arabs get?

Where did that say that?

by Anonymousreply 1510/03/2013

[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

by Anonymousreply 1610/03/2013

Has he ever seen "Who's the Boss?" Tony Danza is a walking stereotype.

by Anonymousreply 1910/03/2013

Oh puh-leeze, r18!

by Anonymousreply 2010/03/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 2110/03/2013

His point was that Italians get it the worst. No one else. He didn't mention any other group who got it as bad.

by Anonymousreply 2210/03/2013

Who are you talking to/about, R19?

by Anonymousreply 2310/03/2013

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".

by Anonymousreply 2410/03/2013


by Anonymousreply 2810/03/2013

They need to get out of their little fantasy worlds with statements like this. Stop perpetuating delusional stereotypes like this one:

by Anonymousreply 3010/03/2013

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!!!

by Anonymousreply 3110/03/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 3310/03/2013

Some of these "Italo pride" types don't even distinguish between Italian and Italian-American, when there is, of course, a huge difference.

by Anonymousreply 3510/03/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 3710/03/2013

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....)

by Anonymousreply 3810/03/2013

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!

by Anonymousreply 3910/03/2013

[quote]The Mafia, racketeering, gambling, prostitution, drugs....

The Renaissance

by Anonymousreply 4210/03/2013

"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?

by Anonymousreply 4410/03/2013

That's right R43... Jersey Shore truly cancels out the profound achievements of the Renaissance

by Anonymousreply 4510/03/2013

"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.

by Anonymousreply 4610/03/2013

Americans should always hyphenate when referring to their ethnicity.

by Anonymousreply 4710/03/2013

"And don't even get us started on Sicilians, who aren't really considered proper Italians."

Please explain for the uninitiated

by Anonymousreply 4810/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5110/03/2013

You know that prejudice better than the rest of us. Don't pretend we have to explain it to you, R48.

by Anonymousreply 5210/03/2013

From the Renaisance to Joey Lawrence (see link). Both feature masterpieces of Italian design.

by Anonymousreply 5310/03/2013

[quote]but what they don't realize is that the rest of Europe does not consider them white but grey.

What utter, utter bullshit.

by Anonymousreply 5410/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5510/03/2013

Yeah, why pick on poor Tony Danza?

by Anonymousreply 5710/03/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5810/04/2013

Whatever r50 says, Italian food is the most popular in the world, much better than French cuisine.

by Anonymousreply 6010/07/2013
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