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Negative Stereotypes About Italian Americans Perpetuated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Don Jon" Movie, Says The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition

Nation's largest Italian American anti-bias organization blasts actor-director for negative portrayal of Italians, Jews

BLOOMFIELD, N.J., Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition—the nation's largest Italian American anti-bias organization — is taking "Don Jon" Director-Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt—ironically the son of parents who founded a once-famous Jewish national social justice organization—to task for stereotyping and denigrating Italian Americans and Jews in his new movie.


"Here we go again with the same shop-worn, racist stereotypes of Italian Americans in movies," said Italian American ONE VOICE founder Dr. Emanuele "Manny" Alfano. "It never ends. Levitt, himself the son of proud parents who once founded the Jewish Progressive Alliance and fought for social justice causes, should be ashamed of himself for the negative portrayal of Italians and Jews in his movie."

In "Don Jon," Director-Actor Levitt plays Jon Martello, a stupid, pornography-addicted, t-shirt wearing "Jersey Shore" clone whose day consists of the stereotypical ritual of "gym, tan laundry." He appears in the movie with his equally stupid father, Jon Sr., played by Tony Danza, infamous for his lifelong portrayals of stupid, buffoonish Italian characters, attired in the usual tight white t-shirts. In one infamously racist scene, the whole family is displayed acting buffoonish at a table during a spaghetti dinner. A reviewer from wrote that Glenne Headly, who played the role of Jon's mom, "should get a Razzie nomination for playing the biggest Italian mother stereotype in the history of cinema."

Martello falls in love with a Jewish woman, the tight-jeaned, big-haired, high-heeled Barbara Sugarman, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, with all the "Jersey Girl" stereotypical trimmings. The two prance and preen through a predictable farce with forced "Jersey" accents.

"Levitt, much like his pornography-addicted character, needs an intervention and should go into serious therapy for his ethnic denigration of Italian Americans," said Alfano, who has urged his nationwide coalition of activists to phone and contact the film's production and distribution companies, Voltage Pictures and HitRecord films, get on social media, including "Don Jon's" official Facebook page, and protest the movie's portrayals. "Levitt ought to quit now, take this trite garbage out of movie theaters and donate his profits to charity."

The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition also has its own Facebook page, where it has posted about "Don Jon" and maintains a website at ONE VOICE's main mission is to fight bias, stereotyping and discrimination against Italian Americans.

Media Contact:

Sebastian D'Elia

Communications Director

Italian American ONE VOICE