Claiming a clear victory in a long battle, Andre' DiMino, who is leading a coalition of groups and individuals from the Italian American community, declared, "I have no doubt our efforts resulted in theMafia II Launch Party, at the 92nd Street Y's Tribeca Center, being a dismal failure." DiMino continued, "When we first heard about this marketing event only recently, we went into action, using our resolve to challenge an event whose purpose was to mock the Italian American community by promoting the new video game Mafia II."
Saturday evening, August 28, expectations generally were that, with the massive effort Take-Two Interactive Software had made with other "parties" leading up to the big launch in New York City, where the company is headquartered, this would be a key moment in promoting the game. Instead, a sparse group of mostly young people trudged into 200 Hudson Street Saturday night. No Take-Two executives were anywhere in sight, least of all Strauss Zelnick, company chairman, who had belittled opponents of the new game.
For more than a week, Italian Americans led by DiMino pounded away at the event's host, the 92nd Street Y, to cancel the event as inappropriate for a well known not-for-profit institution. Even more, Take-Two was increasingly challenged by this coalition for demeaning and stereotyping Italian Americans.
"I believe," continued DiMino, "the combined result of our activities was that, without acknowledging our efforts, both Take-Two and the 92nd Street Y became very hesitant to heavily promote ethnic bashing in this very public way. The lack of media coverage for the launch party is another indicator that they pulled back on promoting this event."
Mr. DiMino concluded, "For us, this is one small, satisfying victory in a much longer, more sophisticated campaign within the Italian American community opposed to Mafia II specifically, and the continued misrepresentation of the Italian American community, generally. Take-Two and its major investors, and the entertainment industry in general, will be hearing further and forcefully from us."
A coalition of prominent Italian American advocates and organizations representing many, many members across America participated in Saturday's effort including UNICO National President, Chris DiMattio; Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition founder and chair, Dr. Manny Alfano; Coalition of Italo-American Associations President, Dr. Joseph Scelsa; Commission for Social Justice of OSIA of NY President, Stella Grillo; NJ Italian American Heritage Commission Executive Director, Michael Genevrino; Belleville UNICO's Tom DeGenaro; Italian American Political Action Committee President, James Lisa; Petrosino Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy in America President, John Fratta; Italian American Advocate, Marc Ameruso; and many others. DiMino offered a special thanks to Arthur Piccolo, who, as DiMino explained, "has done as much as anyone so far, along with a few other key individuals, like Dr. Alfano and Dr. Scelsa, to wage this battle on behalf of the entire Italian American community."