Joseph Gordon-Levitt accused of 'racist' stereotyping in Don Jon

Actor-director falls foul of the the Italian-American One Voice Coalition.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been accused of promoting racist stereotyping in his directorial debut 'Don Jon'.

The film, about a young man with a porn-addiction, has been attacked by the Italian-American One Voice Coalition for denigrating both Italian-Americans and Jews in the portrayals of its lead characters, Gordon-Levitt's 'Jersey Shore'-esque Jon Martello and his would-be girlfriend Barbara Sugarman.

“Here we go again with the same shop-worn, racist stereotypes of Italian Americans in movies,” said Dr. Emanuele 'Manny' Alfano, the organisation's founder.

“It never ends. Levitt, himself the son of proud parents who once founded the Jewish Progressive Alliance and fought for social justice causes, should be ashamed of himself for the negative portrayal of Italians and Jews in his movie.

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“Levitt, much like his pornography-addicted character, needs an intervention and should go into serious therapy for his ethnic denigration of Italian Americans.

“Levitt ought to quit now, take this trite garbage out of movie theaters and donate his profits to charity.”

A press release from the organisation details some of its issues with the comedy-drama.

“In 'Don Jon,' Director-Actor Levitt plays Jon Martello, a stupid, pornography-addicted, t-shirt wearing 'Jersey Shore' clone whose day consists of the stereotypical ritual of 'gym, tan, laundry',” it reads.

“He appears in the movie with his equally stupid father, Jon Sr., played by Tony Danza, infamous for his lifelong portrayals of stupid, buffoonish Italian characters, attired in the usual tight white t-shirts.

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“In one infamously racist scene, the whole family is displayed acting buffoonish at a table during a spaghetti dinner. A reviewer from wrote that Glenne Headly, who played the role of Jon’s mom, 'should get a Razzie nomination for playing the biggest Italian mother stereotype in the history of cinema'.”

It's not the first time the organisation has voiced its opinions over supposed negative portrayals of Italian-Americans in the media.

The coalition has previously targeted Robert De Niro, 'The Sopranos', 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' and even 'Bob The Builder'.

Tony Danza, who plays Gordon-Levitt's father in the film, has, however, previously said that he is careful of which roles he takes with regards his cultural heritage.

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“I've been very lucky in my career that I haven't had to denigrate Italians in my work,” he told the Huffington Post in March this year.

“I've sort of been the Italian they're proud of. I've only played one gangster. I didn't do a lot of that. So, I didn't want to make fun of myself or my people, so to speak. Just to make sure, I had a bunch of 'vowels' go in the other day. Guys whose names end with vowels. They go in and see the movie the other day. Not only did they give me the stamp, they gave [Gordon-Levitt] the stamp.”

The film is out in the UK on November 15.