Calling it a "pile of racist nonsense" that perpetuates stereotypes of Italian Americans as violent, murderous mobsters, UNICO National's Andre' DiMino is demanding that Take Two Interactive halt the release of the "Mafia 2" videogame, planned to hit stores on August 24th.
Mafia 2 portrays the life of a fictional Vito Scaletta, the son of Sicilian immigrants. As the game progresses, Vito joins a crime family and becomes a "made man." The game continues with a parade of bloody, violent murders, crime, sex and thugs which are blanketed with every conceivable Italian American stereotype and imagery.
DiMino, who led the fight against MTV's "Jersey Shore," wrote to Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take Two, advising him that the game is an "inappropriate and insulting perpetuation of the pervasive and denigrating stereotype of organized crime being the exclusive domain of Italians and Italian Americans."
"Why would [Take Two] foist a game on their targeted audience of young people wherein they will indoctrinate a new generation into directly associating Italians and Italian Americans with violent, murderous organized crime, to the exclusion of all of the other 'mafias' run by other ethnic and racial groups," DiMino said. "Take Two is directly, blatantly and unfairly discriminating and demeaning one group to the exclusion of all others. We are demanding they halt release of the game and cleanse it of all references to Italians and Italian Americans."
DiMino asked for a meeting with Zelnick and his associates to discuss their insensitivity to Italian Americans and to hear what they will do about it.
Take Two has a controversial reputation in the videogame industry with a "history of perpetrating its violent, sleazy, racist videogames upon an unsuspecting public," said DiMino. There are numerous cases of real-life violence that have been alleged to have been caused by the company's games – such as the October 2003 lawsuit, filed by victims of fatal shootings by teens William and Josh Buckner, alleged to have been acting out a scene from Take Two's videogame Grand Theft Auto (GTA), and the February 2005 lawsuit, although dismissed, alleging that Take Two's GTA caused the fatal shooting of two police officers and a dispatcher by teen Devin Moore who, upon capture, infamously stated, "Life is a video game. You've got to die sometime." These are just 2 of many high-profile controversies related to Take Two. In addition there have been other ethnic groups, such as Haitians and Cubans, who protested Take Two's stereotypes of them in their videogames.
"We don't need, nor deserve, a new generation being brainwashed into directly associating Italians and Italian Americans with the bloody, murderous thugs and criminals rampant in Mafia 2," concluded DiMino.