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.