New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has angered the Columbus Citizens Foundation by inviting members of the HBO-TV series, “The Sopranos,” to march in New York’s Columbus Day Parade. Officials of the foundation maintain that the TV show portrays an “extremely negative and ugly stereotyping of our people.” Furthermore, the officials contend that Mayor Bloomberg was not authorized to extend the invitation in the first place.
Catholic League president William Donohue spoke for the league today:
“In support of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, the Catholic League is asking Mayor Bloomberg to reconsider his invitation to members of ‘The Sopranos’ cast to march in the Columbus Day Parade. The Catholic League takes no position on the merits of ‘The Sopranos.’ But we do take a position on the merits of private-parade organizers to maintain their autonomy free of government meddlers.
“At stake is the First Amendment right of freedom of association. If Mayor Bloomberg does not accede to this modest request, then the Catholic League will support whatever measures—including legal ones—the Columbus Citizens Foundation may want to take.
“It is no secret that Italian-Americans, especially in New York, have actively contributed to the good works of the Catholic Church. Thus, the Columbus Citizens Foundation deserves the support of all allied organizations in keeping its mission intact. If the organizers of the Columbus Day Parade don’t believe that ‘The Sopranos’ projects a fair image of Italian-Americans, then that is good enough for us. Why it isn’t good enough for Mayor Bloomberg needs to be explained.”