The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Boycott of Denny's to protest stereotyping

Just into my e-mail inbox is a request to to boycott Denny's. The Sons of Italy Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) is calling for a boycott of Denny's to protest the stereotyping of Italian Americans in the company's new national ad campaign, "Serious Breakfast."

The CSJ isthe anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America, the nation's largest Italian American organization. Denny's is the largest family restaurant chain in the U.S.

The CSJ has criticized one of the commercials in the series for its portrayal of three men who appear to be Italian American gangsters, discussing murdering "Benny" as they wait for their breakfast at a Denny's restaurant. The CSJ called for the commercial to be permanently removed from both television and the internet.

In response to the CSJ's complaint, Nelson Marchioli, Denny's president and CEO, said the company had reviewed the commercial and found "no ethnic stereotyping, just fun and humor."

"This is an unsatisfactory reply," says CSJ National President Anthony Baratta. "The Godfather movies and The Sopranos television series have helped make violence and criminality synonymous with Italian Americans," he says, "And the Denny commercial perpetuates this stereotype. That is not funny."

If Denny's refuses to archive the commercial, Baratta says "Italian Americans can and will enjoy a 'serious breakfast' at a restaurant that does not insult them. Denny's should know that Italian Americans are the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, and to offend us will only hurt Denny's bottom line."

Baratta urges all concerned to contact Nelson Marchioli at:

Denny's Corporation
203 East Main Street
Spartanburg, SC 29319
(800) 733-6697 or directly at (864) 597-7781

For more info:
The Sons of Italy CSJ is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA), the largest and oldest national organization for people of Italian descent in the U.S. To learn more about the CSJ, visit us on the Web at or contact us via e-mail at

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