For immediate release
Contact: Sebastian D’Elia
Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition
NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES---The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition---the largest Italian-American anti-bias group in the United States---is calling upon the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to halt its television advertisement in Canada that stereotypes Italian Americans as mobsters.
“This is one of the most brazen examples of attacks on Italian Americans ever done by a non-profit entity that we’ve ever seen,” said Manny Alfano, President of ONE VOICE, which boasts thousands of members and is affiliated with a number of other major Italian American non-profit organizations.
The commercial features a journalist asking an actor who looks like Prime Minister Stephen Harper (who is not Italian) a series of tough questions only to then find himself bound up by a couple of Mafia henchmen and tossed in a trunk to Italian mandolin music. The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting have launched the commercial as part of a campaign calling on the Prime Minister and other political parties to free the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), the nation’s public broadcasting entity, from political interference. Further, Alfano noted the organization has broadcast a similarly insensitive second commercial portraying Russian and Latino military characters as political dictators.
The commercials can be viewed HERE:
“Quite frankly, the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition does not have an opinion on the politics of the issue the commercial purports to address, but what’s painfully wrong is that Italian Americans are being stereotyped in an ad being broadcast to millions,” Alfano said. “This is a disgrace and we call on the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to take the proper measures and halt it immediately…how in the world does a group that claims to be a public interest advocate stoop to the irresponsible level of defaming the fifth largest ethnic group in Canada? What has gone so very wrong over there?”
Scrolling through the names of those on the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting steering committee listed on the organization’s web page, Alfano noted that none of the committee members appeared to be Italian or had Italian last names.
“They may want to start by having someone on their committees or leadership boards who is sensitive to Italian Americans,” Alfano said. “Maybe the steering committeeneeds sensitivity training.”
Alfano noted his organization would be in contact with Italian organizations such as the National Congress of Italian Canadians, to plan an advocacy campaign, and is urging his members and the public to email the Friends group, and file a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada, the national not-for-profit advertising self-regulatory agency:
Additionally, the following links, Alfano noted, can be used to contact the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting for complaints against the offensive campaign:
The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition is a nationwide army of anti-bias activists that fight discrimination and defend Italian American heritage. ONE VOICE’s goal is to act as one united voice when dealing with defamation, discrimination and negative stereotyping of our culture and heritage.
ONE VOICE is different from all other Italian American groups in that its’ primary focus and objective is to fight bias in mass media and combat stereotyping and discrimination against Italian Americans. It is the only national Italian American organization of its type that focuses solely on defending the heritage and culture of Italian Americans.
The ONE VOICE webpage is www.iaovc.org