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1/20: CSJ Criticizes "Mob Hits"

Commission for Social Justice® Criticizes "Mob Hits"

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

Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 1999 - The Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ), the anti-defamation arm of the one-half million member Order Sons of Italy in America®, along with other Italian-American organizations including the Anti-Bias Committee of UNICO National, has strongly criticized the recent promotion and release of a compact disc titled "Mob Hits."

"We find it deplorable that this album is being gratuitously marketed as a compilation of songs from mob movies, when in fact only a few of the songs have appeared in such movies," said CSJ President Angelo R. Bianchi. "The association of many of these songs, and the great Italian singers behind them, with the offensive nature of this type of film is inexcusable."

The CD, produced by Triage Entertainment, is causing a stir in the Italian American community because most of the musicians (excluding Rosemary Clooney) are of Italian heritage, and some of the songs have appeared in the stigmatizing films "The Godfather," "Casino," and "Goodfellas."

UNICO National's Anti-Bias Committee Chairman Emanuele Alfano, National Italian American Coordinating Association President Martin Picillo, and Speranza President Nicholas Addeo met with David Brinker, the CD's producer, in early November. Brinker made suggestions in an effort to reduce the negative effects of the CD, including revising the advertisement and including a disclaimer on the CD jacket. Alfano, however, advised Brinker that if the title was not changed, he would have no other action but to recommend a boycott.

Adding fuel to the fire is the use of one of the artists on the CD as a spokesperson. In television ads Jerry Vale promotes the CD, reassuring: if you like mob movies, you'll love "Mob Hits." According to Bianchi, Vale was made aware of the seriousness of the problem in a meeting with Richard Capozzola, publisher of Five Century Books.

"He said he had no clue and could not see its effects at all," Bianchi said of Vale's conversation with Capozzola.

The CSJ has subsequently called for a boycott of the CD.

"While we acknowledge that Triage Entertainment has made some concessions, it isn't enough to remove the negative publicity that has already been caused through the marketing of this CD. We hope this will be a warning to others that these types of offensive products, and the marketing thereof, will not be tolerated by Italian Americans," said Bianchi.