This group is so hypocronic—a word I just made up—because its hypocrisy is so ironic.
The Italian American Human Relations Foundation (IAHRF) of Chicago is protesting a beer ad laden with stereotypes; meanwhile, its celebrity ambassador is helping feed that stereotype.
The group had threatened to boycott MillerCoors if the brewer didn’t shelve its so-called protection commercials, which star Frank Vincent from “The Sopranos” as an apparent member of the mafia who offers protection to bartenders and would-be Miller Lite drinkers.
Here’s one of the ads, a creation of DraftFCB/Chicago:
Kind of funny, I think. Not so much for Lou Rago, IAHRF's founder and president.
"We seem to be the last breed in America that ad agencies think they can take a shot at," Rago told the Chicago Sun-Times.
That might be so. Verizon Wireless took flak for a commercial it ran showing a backyard barbeque with a large Italian-American family. Verizon even re-edited the spot to remove one of the more audacious comments.
MillerCoors planned to run the “protection” commercials through summer, but announced this week that it will pull the ad.
Mission accomplished for the IAHRF.
Now, if the ongoing mission of the foundation, according to its Web site, is to abolish “negative stereotyping of all ethnic and racial groups in the community as well as in the media,” then it must take issue with "The Simpsons" character, Anthony “Fat Tony” D’Amico, a gross stereotype of an Italian-American mafia boss.
Actor Joe Mantegna supplies the voice of Fat Tony, but—uh-oh—Mantegna is also the celebrity ambassador for the IAHRF. And Mantegna, a Chicago native, has played gangster roles in several movies, including Godfather III, in which he played the no-good Joey Zasa.
So let me get this straight: the foundation protests a beer ad because of the depiction of Italian-American stereotypes, while its celebrity ambassador fuels that stereotype.
Yeah, like I said, hypocronic.