NYC Mayor on New MTV Show: 'Shameless Ratings Grab'

Staten Island residents aren't happy about 'Made in Staten Island' for its Italian-American 'stereotypes'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2019 8:47 AM CST
NYC Mayor on New MTV Show: 'Shameless Ratings Grab'
Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at a news conference after NYPD personnel removed an explosive device from Time Warner Center on Oct. 24, 2018, in New York.   (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

If a neighborhood was featured on a new reality show, one would think locals would be pretty excited. But for Staten Island residents, MTV's new series debuting Monday is nothing but a "shameless ratings grab" full of "stereotypes." That's per a recent tweet from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Made in Staten Island, a show documenting young people there who are trying to stay away from organized crime. The Hollywood Reporter notes the show's concept has spurred a petition, signed by more than 7,500, that's trying to get the show pulled (or "Staten Island" removed from the title) due to the show's depiction of the borough as a "cesspool of gangsters, meatheads, and low lives." One of the show's stars is Karina Seabrook, the 19-year-old granddaughter of Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano; her mom, Karen Gravano, starred on VH1's Mob Wives and is an executive producer on Made.

"We talk weekly," Seabrook tells the New York Post of her interactions with her infamous granddad, who got out of prison in September 2017. Seabrook adds: "All my memories [of my grandfather] were of going to visit him in jail. It was hard for me." City Councilman Joe Borelli, who represents Staten Island's South Shore, calls the show "embarrassing" and tells the New York Times that it's exploiting its young stars and "glorifying a life of crime." "They are stereotyping Italian-Americans on Staten Island as having a connection to criminal enterprises," he adds. "If you named any other race, religion, or creed, people would be upset." Gothamist notes a peripheral issue that isn't getting much press, but that everyone from Staten Island will likely agree on: The show should, at the very least, be called Made on Staten Island, not "in." talks to some of the show's stars for their perspective. (At least one MTV reality show may have societal value.)

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