FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or email@example.com
(Washington, DC – December 10, 2003) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) applauds the recent decision made by the Coca-Cola Company to pull Mafia Movie Madness, a short film by Jordan Ross that won the 2003 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Award, from theaters throughout the United States. NIAF along with other Italian American organizations were concerned that the film’s depiction of Italian Americans as mobsters reinforced a negative stereotype and sent a harmful message to the American public.
“We were dismayed at first sight of the film, so NIAF challenged Coca Cola, a company that has traditionally championed ethnic sensitivity and tolerance, to treat Italian Americans with the same sensitivity and respect as other ethnic groups. We were pleased they reconsidered,” Frank J. Guarini, NIAF chairman, said.
This recent action by Coca Cola demonstrated a real concern for the issue of group defamation. Italian Americans have long struggled with an image problem in the United States, one that reduces them to gangsters and buffoons. This recent action by Coca Cola is a voice of reason and makes a firm statement that the stereotyping of any group is unacceptable.