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CSJ Criticizes Touchstone Pictures for Adse

CSJ Criticizes Touchstone Pictures for Offensive Motion Picture and Poster Advertisement

Contact: Mark Dalessandro

Washington, D.C., July 16, 1998 - The Commission for Social Justice®, of the Order Sons of Italy in America®, has harshly criticized Touchstone Pictures for its soon to be released motion picture Mafia and a poster advertisement, which is offensive to Americans of Italian heritage.

A division of The Walt Disney Company, Touchstone's new motion picture is a comedy about criminals. A poster advertising the movie features spaghetti, meatballs, and a gun. Though conceding that the CSJ can not prevent the company "from producing motion pictures which negligently portray Italian Americans, CSJ President Angelo R. Bianchi focused on the defamatory poster and the company's departure from the family-oriented films for which Disney is known.

". . . The poster that is used to advertise this motion picture is objectionable in that it shows spaghetti and meatballs and a gun, clearly sending forth a message that all Italian Americans are criminals. I, on behalf of my organization, would respectfully request that this poster be taken down and be replaced by one which does not stereotype an entire group," Bianchi said in his letter to Terry Curtin, Touchstone's senior vice president of publicity.

"I must say, as an aside, that I am somewhat shocked that the Disney corporation, which I always believed dealt with clean, wholesome motion pictures, would make such a picture. I ask myself the question, what message does Disney believe this portrayal and your poster will convey to young people of impressionable minds about Italian Americans? The only answer I can come up with is that you don't care that future young Italian Americans will be looked upon by their playmates as offspring of criminals."

The Commission for Social Justice® is the leading organization fighting defamation and discrimination of Italian Americans. The Order Sons of Italy in America® is the oldest and largest organization of American men and women of Italian heritage.