News

Roukema Offers Sopranos Resolution

5/23/2001 10:49 AM Eastern

Rep. Marge Roukema wants AOL Time Warner Inc. to rub out The Sopranos,
the Home Box Office hit that the New Jersey Republican said portrays Italian
Americans in a negative light.

'Talk about racial profiling: This is ethnic profiling,' said Roukema, who
introduced a House resolution Wednesday calling on the entertainment industry to
end the stereotyping of Italian Americans as mobsters.

HBO issued a statement defending The Sopranos, which ended its third
year Sunday night by garnering about 9 million viewers.

'We are very proud of The Sopranos. We are not alone in our assessment
that the show is an extraordinary artistic achievement,' HBO said.

The HBO series about a New Jersey-based Mafia crime family offends her,
Roukema said, because her Italian-American parents fought hard to combat
prejudice against their ethnic group.

'I am doing this as a matter of conscience and in the memory of my mother and
father,' the 11-term lawmaker said. 'If you had this against African Americans
or Hispanic Americans, they would be marching in the streets and you know
it.'

Some on Capitol Hill are big fans of The Sopranos. Sen. Robert
Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat and Italian American, is so fond of the show
that he won't schedule appointments while it is airing, an aide to the senator
said.

Roukema said she saw two episodes of The Sopranos, but she refused to
watch another.

'I boycotted it, and everything I've read about since -- it's even worse than
I thought was,' she added.

Roukema said she has not heard from AOL Time Warner nor HBO officials to
discuss her concerns. 'They are trying to ignore me,' she
added.

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