Vitale wants MTV to cancel “Jersey Shore”

Senate Joe Vitale is not a fan of the show “Jersey Shore” on MTV and he has sent a letter to Viacom calling for it to be canceled:

“The image of young Italian Americans conducting themselves in a disrespectful and inappropriate manner at a summer home on the Shore may make for good ratings, but it’s a fabrication that damages our State and cultural reputations,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex.  “Rather than profit off ethnic stereotypes and derogatory myths about Italian Americans, MTV and its parent company, Viacom, should do the socially responsible thing and pull the plug on Jersey Shore.  Not only is the program wildly offensive, but it diminishes the accomplishments and contributions of Italian Americans in New Jersey and across the nation.”

You can view the letter he sent here. He even gave an analogy with the Jerry Springer show:

“Saying that the young people on Jersey Shore represent all young Italian Americans is like saying The Jerry Springer Show represents responsible journalism,” said Senator Vitale.  “From casting decisions to scenery to interactions between cast members, everything on Jersey Shore has been fabricated and manipulated, and not a representation of the ‘reality’ that MTV purports to document.  The problem lies in the fact that, for the audiences that Jersey Shore is being marketed to, the overly-muscled, overly-tan caricatures of long-held ethnic stereotypes highlighted on the show may form the basis of ethnic generalizations that do a disservice to Italian Americans everywhere.”

Vitale isn’t just writing letters and press releases, he says the show breaks the law and wants an investigation:

Vitale says that the Italian American cast regularly uses derogatory terms such as “guido” and “guidette” when describing themselves.  The use of those terms, Vitale says, violates Viacom’s own terms requiring a harassment-free workplace, as well as New Jersey’s tough laws on racial bias and ethnic discrimination.

At Vitale’s request, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has opened an investigation into employment and wage practices, as well as the tax status of the “Shore Store” where cast members supposedly worked while filming the program.

I’ve asked many people how they feel about the show.  Some say it’s just an MTV show, others find it funny and still some agree with Vitale and find it offensive.  Personally, I found it as time I can never get back in my life and isn’t worth even watching, let alone the uproar it has caused. So what do you think? Do you watch the show? Should it be canceled? Or should Senator Vitale focus more on other issues that damage the reputation of our state as well.

Comments (5)

  1. TeenDem

    Instead of talking about “THe Jersey Shore” Jersey legislatures should be pushing for marriage equality to be passed before Christie takes office and effectively kills any chance of the bill to be passed. This is an insult to all LGBT citizens in this great state and shows how truly incompetent our legislature is.    

  2. Jason Springer (Post author)

    Via PNJ:

    Vitale pushed back against critics who said his request for the state to investigate the employment and wage practices and the tax status of the “Shore Store” — where the show’s cast is employed – was heavy handed.

    “They’re living for what appears to be free in what appears to be a very expensive beach house for the summer, and yet they’re working it off in their landlord’s t-shirt shop?  There has to be some declaration of income or some declaration of something. And is MTV paying these kids as well?  I just want to know the answer,” he said.

    Vitale then rethought his use of the word “kids,” noting that a couple of the cast members, including Mike Sorrentino – a.k.a. “The Situation” – are in their late 20s.

    “He needs to get a life and a real job,” he said.

  3. Cautious Man

    … and I think over half of these clowns are from NYC –

    So, maybe we can compromise and re-title the show “New York Guidos Invade the Jersey Shore”.

    Good thing New Jersey enacted the sales taxes on tanning and tattoos a while ago.  We’ll make a fortune off of these people!


  4. Bertin Lefkovic

    When you consider the degree to which our state government has been so closely associated with corruption and the fact that a State Senate and State Assembly with Democratic majorities has struggled so mightily with a no-brainer of an issue like marriage equality, it is embarrassing that an otherwise high-quality and progressive elected like Senator Joe Vitale is allowing himself to be consumed by the inanity of reality television.

    There can be no doubt that reality television is the latest example of the devolution of mass media and popular culture and that Jersey Shore is one of the worst elements of this vile genre, but unless we want the FCC to establish quality standards for television (something I would support, but I am probably alone in this), this problem is not going away and Vitale’s efforts to try to use the tax code to threaten the producers of this show is patently ridiculous.

    If Senator Vitale is concerned about the image of Italian-Americans, he should speak to his colleagues, Senators Girgenti and Sarlo, about how their positions on marriage equality create a negative image of Italian-American Catholics as bigoted and closed-minded or to former Bergen County Democratic Chairman, Joe Ferriero, about how his actions create a negative image of Italian-American politicians as corrupt.

    This is not to say that I believe that their actions/positions actually reflect anything on other Italian Americans, but if Vitale believes that the behavior of a few high-profile individuals reflects poorly on a much larger group as a whole, I think that he should pick and choose the images that he objects to much more thoughtfully.


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