Written by Adam Bulger
A locally based Italian American advocacy group has found fault with "Inception" actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon.”
The Bloomfield-based Italian American anti-bias organization ONE VOICE Coalition says the movie characters are cliched stereotypes of Italian Americans and Jews.
ONE VOICE members described "Don Jon” main character Jon Martello as a “stupid, pornography-addicted, t-shirt wearing "Jersey Shore" clone whose day consists of the stereotypical ritual of ‘gym, tan laundry.’”
They say that in portraying Gordon-Levitt’s character’s father, Tony Danza plays a stupid, buffoonish caricature of an Italian American, a stereotype the group says Danza has exploited throughout his career.
"Here we go again with the same shop-worn, racist stereotypes of Italian Americans in movies," Italian American ONE VOICE founder Dr. Emanuele "Manny" Alfano said in a press release. "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."
The group also found Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the Jewish love interest wanting, describing her as a ‘"Jersey Girl”’ with the 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," Alfano said. "Levitt ought to quit now, take this trite garbage out of movie theaters and donate his profits to charity."
Alfano urged members of his coalition 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.