UNICO National President Andre' DiMino has called upon William Shatner, the Canadian who rose to fame as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, to pull down an "incredibly offensive" animated cartoon Shatner has made that stereotypes Italian Americans, called "The Gavones."
A pilot for the cartoon, which is about mobsters in Hollywood, was made last year and appears on both Shatner's YouTube page and his personal webpage. On Shatner's YouTube page, the description for the show notes: "Make an offer you can't refuse? The Gavones will most likely make an offer you can't understand."
Shatner employs a mispronounced Italian word by naming his show, "The Gavones." The Italian term for "Gavones" is "Cafone" or plural, "Cafoni" which means "peasant" but has evolved into meaning a boorish, poorly behaved individual(s). It has found its way into American usage as the mispronounced and misspelled word, "Gavone."
"It appears that the damage stereotyping causes has been lost on Shatner, who for many years was stereotyped and typecast as Captain Kirk blocking him from many roles in Hollywood," DiMino said. "Instead, Captain Kirk has cowardly gone, where many have gone before him---launching a cheap broadside on the Italian American community via the stereotype of the mob. I wish I could flip open my own Communicator and have Scotty beam Kirk to an alternative universe where we wouldn't have to hear from this very tacky overexposed persona."
"The sad reality is that there are not many Italians in powerful positions in Hollywood, and the stereotypical ethnic-bashing cartoon that Shatner is championing underscores that," DiMino said. "Even for Shatner, who embarrasses himself routinely as a classless pitchman and an anything-for-a-buck shill, this is a new low."
In an interview last year with People.com, Shatner said that Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese are likely to appear in the cartoon. "We can get anybody we want with the flick [of a pen]," he arrogantly commented.
DiMino noted that while existence of the show came to UNICO only recently, as the show has only been internet-based, he believes Shatner continues to exercise poor judgment by leaving it online. "He should know better, pull it offline and apologize to the Italian American community," DiMino said.
DiMino has led the charge in recent anti-bias efforts with more than 40 major media appearances and dozens of print stories in leading UNICO National's crusade against MTV's "Jersey Shore." The campaign has thus far resulted in T-Mobile, Dell, Domino's Pizza, Family Insurance, Zappos withdrawing their advertisements from the show.
UNICO National, the nation's largest Italian American service organization, with local chapters throughout the United States, was founded in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1922. Its' volunteer members support charitable, educational, and community service projects while promoting Italian heritage and combating negative stereotyping. For information or to join UNICO National call 973-808-0035 or visit www.unico.org