MTV has a response for the Italian-American group UNICO, which called for the cancellation of the upcoming reality show 'Jersey Shore,' marketed as a peek into the lives of the "hottest, tannest, craziest Guidos" who "keep their hair high, their muscles juiced and their fists pumping all summer long!"
'Jersey Shore' is a reality series that follows eight young adults spending their summer at the beach. The show continues MTV's history of documenting various subcultures, rites of passage of young people, and the ways they self-identify. The Italian-American cast takes pride in their ethnicity. We understand that this show is not intended for every audience and depicts just one aspect of youth culture.
Castmember Mike Sorriento, a 27-year-old assistant manager at a gym and a Staten Island native, is proud of his 'Guido' appearance. He makes the dubious point that reinforcing a stereotype isn't dangerous when the stereotype is sometimes true.
"I just happen to be 100 percent Italian, I happen to be in very good shape and my hair happens to be spiky," he told MTV. "It's not necessarily a stereotype; it's just how it is. In New York and New Jersey, that just happens to be the style."
UNICO president Andre DiMino says the show promotes crude stereotypes and claims to have received hundreds of emails supporting him. UNICO also complained about MTV's portrayal of Italian-Americans in previous shows 'The Sopranos' and 'Growing Up Gotti.'
"No ethnic group should be treated this way," DiMino said. "Just because these young people refer to each other this way [as 'Guidos'] doesn't make it proper."
'Jersey Shore' premieres Thursday at 10 pm on MTV.
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