Uh-oh, it appears “Snooki N’ Nem” (Honestly, who can remember all of their names?) have attracted their biggest detractor yet: New Jersey Senator Joseph Vitale.
On Tuesday, Vitale, who is the chairman of the New Jersey Italian American Legislative Caucus, announced that he and his caucus have sent a letter to MTV parent company Viacom imploring them to cancel the controversial show Jersey Shore.
Less than a month after its debut, MTV’s newest reality hit is already no stranger to controversy. Jersey Shore had been the object of protests even before its Dec. 3 premiere. Italian-American interest group Unico National has repeatedly asked members to boycott advertisers of the show, which follows a group of young Italian-Americans — self-described as “guidos” and “guidettes” — living together in a summer house in the Jersey Shore community of Seaside Heights.
The group — who call the show “Trash TV” — insists Jersey Shore encourages stereotyping of the Italian-American community, and the response of some viewers seems to bolster their claims. MTV staffers were reportedly the target of death threats over the show and Domino’s and Dell recently pulled the plug on their advertising.
“Saying that the young people on “Jersey Shore” represent all young Italian Americans is like saying “The Jerry Springer Show” represents responsible journalism,” Senator Vitale said Wednesday. “The image of young Italian Americans conducting themselves in a disrespectful and inappropriate manner at a summer home on the Shore may make for good ratings, but it’s a fabrication that damages our State and cultural reputations,” the Democrat added, before urging Viacom and yank the belittling program.
“Rather than profit off ethnic stereotypes and derogatory myths about Italian Americans, MTV and its parent company, Viacom, should do the socially responsible thing and pull the plug on ‘Jersey Shore.’”
And to prove just how much he and his Italian-American legislative counterparts detest the show, Vitale has ordered the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to investigate the employment and wage practices, as well as the tax status, of the “Shore Store,” the beachfront establishment where the housemates worked while filming the program.