A member of the executive of the Italian American service organisation (UNICO National), Andre Dimino, has issued a statement targeting the publisher of soon to be released title Mafia II Take-Two Interactive over the representation of Italian Americans in the game.
In the statement DiMino demands that the release of the title - which he calls a "pile of racist nonsense" - to be held back and in an extract from his statement wrote:
"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 further wrote a letter to the chairman of Take-Two Interactive, Strauss Zelnick, requesting a meeting over the matter and advised that Mafia II
perpetuates the "denigrating stereotype of organized crime being the exclusive domain of Italians and Italian-Americans."
Strauss Zelnick has issued a response to UNICO over the matter. Extracts from the response read:
tells a compelling story about organized crime in America -- a subject that for decades has been featured in movies, television shows and novels. Neither UNICO nor any other organization purporting to represent Italian-Americans has seen or played Mafia II,"
"At Take-Two, we balance our right to free expression with what we believe is a thoughtful and responsible approach to creating and marketing our products,"
"Mafia II is M-rated in accordance with our industry's strict standards. It is specifically not targeted toward young people."
"We will only release a title that meets our standards: as art, as entertainment and as a socially responsible product,"
This is not a new situation for Take-Two Interactive as they have acted as the publisher for titles such as the GTA
series and Manhunt
to name a couple. UNICO National was established in 1922 and has volunteers endeavour to provide support for charitable and communal-basd projects whilst actively promoting the heritage of Italy.
Do you feel personally insulted by stereotypical representations of Italian Americans in Mafia II
or do you remember that it is just a game? State your opinions through the comments below.