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SIF Joins ADL in Complaint Against NBCe

Sons of Italy® Joins Anti-Defamation League in Complaint Against NBC

Contact: Diane E. Crespy
(202) 547-2900

Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 1999 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the longest-existing and largest organization of Italian-American men and women (500,000 members), and its anti-defamation branch, the Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ), today announced support for criticism expressed by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith against the NBC television network for a segment of "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) that mimics people of Jewish faith.

The Washington Post reported today that Lorne Michaels, executive producer of the late-night show is "vehemently opposed to any guarantee that the sketch won't be run again." The sketch has SNL cast members and guest host portraying pop stars united for a "So This is Hanukkah" television special, wherein they express their understanding of the holiday to be that Jews own all the movie studios and banks and Christians should consider forgiving Jews for "killing our lord."

On behalf of OSIA and the CSJ, National Executive Director Philip R. Piccigallo stated unqualifiedly that "there is no place in our society for mockery of any kind that reflects negatively on people of any religion, race, or ethnic background."

OSIA and the CSJ have spent their entire history combating defamation and pursuing social justice for all people. Both organizations have worked closely with many Jewish organizations and believe better treatment and respect should be shown to these organizations and the people they represent.

"Such mockery presented under the guise of entertainment has no redeeming value and only serves to demean, harm, desensitize, and denigrate all people," Piccigallo added. "We will do what is necessary, working alongside the ADL, to ensure that such portrayals and others like it are not tolerated and are kept out of the media."