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Italian Americans Successful In Campaign To Ban "Mafia Movie Madness" From U.S. Cinemas

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

WASHINGTON, December 4, 2003 Italian Americans working together scored a major victory against defamation when Coca-Cola agreed yesterday to permanently retire the film clip Mafia Movie Madness, reports the Sons of Italy® Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ).

The two-minute film by Jordan Ross, won the 2003 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Award for young filmmakers. It features a movie theater taken over by the Mafia, who intimidate and threaten its customers.

The film was shown before the main feature in movie theaters all over the country, prompting the CSJ, UNICO National, the National Italian American Foundation and other concerned groups as well as private individuals to contact Coca-Cola to complain.

After receiving a letter from CSJ National President Albert DeNapoli, Coca-Cola agreed to remove the film from circulation. "We sincerely regret that anyone was offended," said Coca-Cola spokeswoman Maria Perez. "We are removing the film from theaters effective Friday, December 5, and it will no longer be screened as a pre-feature film."

The CSJ also wrote and telephoned the CEOs of the two major movie chains, Loews Cineplex Theatres and Regal Entertainment Group, that were airing the film in their theaters nationwide. They agreed with Coca-Cola's decision and will no longer show the film.

Collectively, Loews and Regal operate more than 8,900 screens in nearly 850 locations in the U.S. and abroad. Their empires include Cineplex Odeon, Cinemax and Star Theaters. "After viewing the film I could understand why you objected to it," Loews CEO Travis Reid told the CSJ by telephone Dec. 2.

The CSJ also circulated to several email activist networks a contact sheet with the names and addresses of the CEOs of Coca-Cola, Regal Entertainment Group and Loews Cineplex Theatres.

"We are gratified in the extreme that these three corporate giants have taken such swift and decisive action in addressing our concerns," said DeNapoli."We acknowledge their efforts to help erase prejudicial stereotyping of this sort and are committed to support them as they support us in such efforts."

The Sons of Italy® CSJ is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America®, the largest and oldest national organization in the U.S. for men and women of Italian heritage.