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Italian Americans Protest Stereotypes In Denny Ad: Boycott Threatened If Commercial Is Not Pulled

Press Contact: Dona De Sanctis, (202) 547-2900 ddesanctis@osia.org

Washington, D.C., February 24, 2009 ­ The Sons of Italy® Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ) is calling for a boycott of Denny's to protest the stereotyping of Italian Americans in the company's new national ad campaign, "Serious Breakfast."

The CSJ is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America®, the nation's biggest Italian American organization. Denny's is the largest family restaurant chain in the U.S.

The CSJ has criticized one of the commercials in the series for its portrayal of three men who appear to be Italian American gangsters, discussing murdering "Benny" as they wait for their breakfast at a Denny's restaurant. The CSJ called for the commercial to be permanently removed from both television and the Internet.

In response to the CSJ's complaint, Nelson Marchioli, Denny's president and CEO, said the company had reviewed the commercial and found "no ethnic stereotyping, just fun and humor."

"This is an unsatisfactory reply," says CSJ National President Anthony Baratta. "The Godfather movies and The Sopranos television series have helped make violence and criminality synonymous with Italian Americans," he says, "And the Denny commercial perpetuates this stereotype. That is not funny."

If Denny's refuses to archive the commercial, Baratta says "Italian Americans can and will enjoy a ‘serious breakfast' at a restaurant that does not insult them. Denny's should know that Italian Americans are the nation's fifth largest ethnic group."

Baratta urges all concerned to contact Nelson Marchioli at:

Denny's Corporation
203 East Main Street
Spartanburg, SC 29319 (800) 733-6697

The Sons of Italy® CSJ is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the largest and oldest national organization for people of Italian descent in the U.S. To learn more about the CSJ, visit us on the Web at www.osia.org or contact us via e-mail at csj@osia.org.