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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Sopranos sued by Italian group
The Sopranos
Trouble in store for The Sopranos
An Italian-American organisation is suing the makers of drama series The Sopranos, claiming the show wrongly portrays the community as mobsters.

The Chicago-based American Italian Defense Association wants a jury to declare the mob series offends the dignity of Italian-Americans.

The group is suing Time Warner Entertainment under the "individual dignity" clause of the Illinois constitution.

Broadcaster HBO said the company was "very proud" of the series.

"We're hardly alone in our assessment that the show is an extraordinary artistic achievement," a spokesperson said.

'Not realistic'

But the group's attorney Enrico Mirabelli said: "This is like no family I know.

"I don't know Italian mothers, ever, who try to have their son killed. That's not realistic."

The association claims the series "suggests criminality is in the blood or in the genes of Italian Americans and that Italians as early immigrants to this country had little opportunity other than to turn to crime".

Chairman Theodore Grippo said: "We're looking for a vindication of our reputation. We realise that we can't stop the free speech rights of Time Warner.

"We're not looking for money - we want a moral victory here."

Last year, producers cancelled plans to film at a university in New Jersey after complaints from staff and students over its portrayal of Italian-Americans.

However, the programme continues to be a huge success.

It was nominated for 18 Emmys last year, but won just one, for lead actor James Gandolfini.

The first episode of the third series of the show drew 11 million viewers when it was shown on HBO. The series is shown in the UK on Channel 4.

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See also:

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