Italian-American Group Takes Issue With Mafia II
It seems that no matter what Take-Two releases, someone gets their panties in a bunch about it.
This time, it’s Mafia II. UNICO National, one of the largest Italian American service organizations in the US, has referred to Mafia II as “a pile of racist nonsense.” They are also demanding that Take-Two refrain from releasing the title, which is due out next Tuesday, August 24.
In a statement, UNICO President Andre DiMino said, “”Take Two is directly, blatantly and unfairly discriminating and demeaning one group to the exclusion of all others. We are demanding they halt release of the game and cleanse it of all references to Italians and Italian-Americans.”
Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick released a statement in response to UNICO, saying,
“Mafia II 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. We aim to distinguish creative and compelling story telling that advances artistic expression from subject matter that gratuitously exploits or glorifies violence or stereotypes. I fully and completely stand behind our creative teams and products, including Mafia II.”
Zelnick’s point is well taken. It’s true that there are other Mafias in existence. However, in the time period the game is set in, the Italian Mafia was the most prevalent in this country. Besides, Take-Two has already shown a variety of Eastern Europeans in a ‘gangland’ light in games like Grand Theft Auto IV.
This isn’t the first group to protest Take-Two, and it certainly won’t be the last. Perhaps we can protest these groups in turn, and request that they actually play the game they are protesting before they start talking about how badly it portrays their ethnic group of choice.