UNICO National has described Take-Two's upcoming Mafia II video game as a pile of "racist nonsense" that unfairly stereotypes Italian-Americans.
"Why would [Take Two] foist a game on their targeted audience of young people wherein they will indoctrinate a new generation into directly associating Italians and Italian-Americans with violent, murderous organized crime, to the exclusion of all of the other 'mafias' run by other ethnic and racial groups?" DiMino asked rhetorically in a statement obtained by Gamasutra.
"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."
Unsurprisingly, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick vehemently disputed DiMino's claims.
"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," said Zelnick.
"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....We aim to distinguish creative and compelling story telling that advances artistic expression from subject matter that gratuitously exploits or glorifies violence or stereotypes."